Well, it's official. Maria Sharapova, the goddess of women's tennis, is no longer on the market. Her heart is taken... A scoop that didn't stop Roger Federer from shooting a new commercial for Wilson or Rafael Nadal from claiming yet another record on clay.
Maria, no sex at work
This is probably the information of the week around the coffee machine. Like every player on the tour, Maria has a hitting partner. His name is Dieter Kindlmann. But as revealed on the Matin.ch site, the handsome blonde 31-year-old had to sign an unusual contract to have the chance to train with the World No. 2. Put simply, Dieter isn't allowed to have sexual intercourse with the player; a clause in the contract strictly prohibits coitus. "She is happy with her boyfriend,” said the German. “Maria is anything but a diva. She is protected from the outside world, but she is very nice to her employees." This clause was expressly requested by the player’s entourage. Obviously.
Dimitrov-Sharapova; it’s official.
Coincidence or not, the officialization of the relationship between Dimitrov and Sharapova took place in the very same week as the disclosure of the contract clause. The couple were caught in the streets of Madrid, dressed as scarecrows, but very much in love. The tabloids didn't procrastinate, posting the pictures the following day. Caught red-handed, Dimitrov played along by creating a "Dimitrov & Sharapova" album on his own Facebook page.
The hidden message
Following her victory against Kaia Kanepi in Madrid, the Russian indulged in the ritual autographing of the camera. But, instead of her signature, she wrote: "How did you catch us?" A message acknowledging her defeat to the paparazzo that photographed her in the streets of Madrid with her new boyfriend, Grigor Dimitrov. Fair play, Maria.
A new commercial for the young Sharapova
Amongst her many sponsors, Maria Sharapova is associated with Evian bottled-water and, for its latest commercial, the brand staged a match of the player playing against herself as a baby. You have to stay young.
After the cover, the inside
It’s a familiar story, Maria Sharapova gracing the cover of a magazine (Mexican Esquire in this case) and we had the chance to see the incredible picture of the Russian last week. This week, we've been treated to the inside spread. Please spare a thought for Grigor Dimitrov… and for Dieter Kindlmann too for that matter.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world…
Fabrice Santoro, the joker
Before retiring, Fabrice Santoro was the only man on the tour capable of playing two-handed forehands AND backhands. In short, he was unique, and also very much into good jokes. That's why this week, on the side-lines of the press conference of an exhibition tournament organized in Saint-Tropez by his friend Henri Leconte, the Frenchman relived some of his favourite jokes. Including the one with the bucket of balls in the face.
Cash-Almagro, new duo
Living in the shadow of Nadal and Ferrer is not easy when you’re a Spanish tennis player, as Nicolas Almagro knows only too well. So, to get people talking about him, he must innovate. How? By taking the bison, an animal that isn't known for its retiring nature, as his new symbol. To be sure to have an even greater exposure, the Spaniard turned to the former Australian legend Pat Cash, visiting the Spanish capital, and gave him a "Bison" T-shirt before exchanging a few shots.
The record of the week
Who really knows Anabel Medina Garrigues? Only the purists, and yet, the 30 year-old Spanish player just entered the record books by becoming the active player with the most tournament victories on clay. With 10 titles including five in Palermo (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011), three in Strasbourg (2005, 2007 and 2008), one in Fez (2009) and one in Estoril (2011) nobody currently playing on the WTA tour has done better on the dirt. Her runner up is called Serena Williams, with nine trophies. Freshly inducted - despite the fact that she pocketed her last tournament on ochre two years ago - into the Guinness Book earlier this week, Anabel simply stated: "I was really happy when I found out. This is something that few players get, so I hope I can still improve my record!" Catch her if you can.
A love story
Roger Federer is a loyal man. Same woman for a long time: Mirka. Same sponsor: Nike. Same racquet since his debut: Wilson. So when it comes to starring in the latest commercial for the brand "W", the Swiss player opens up quietly. The spot features all the major players in world tennis in partnership with the brand. But the best is definitely Federer. And in perfect English, as well. What a fine man this Roger.
Rafa and his Madrid’s cake
Guess who’s the star in the backstage of the Madrid ATP tournament? Well, obviously Rafael Nadal. Especially for the players’ chef, to the extent that the lefty was offered a dessert in his image - a huge Rafael Nadal cake.
Wawrinka, cold suits him so well
"It's cold... So cold! But great for recovery..." These are the words posted by Stanislas Wawrinka to his Twitter account. The Swiss, who is in fine form at the moment, shared his solution for the best possible recovery after a three-set match and it’s a method that seems to work. Even if he was no match for Nadal, the Swiss still made it to the final in Madrid.
The figure: 46
After his victory against Pablo Andujar in the Madrid tournament, Rafael Nadal now counts 46 straight wins in the semi-finals of a tournament played on clay. To find Nadal’s last defeat at this stage of the competition you have to go back to 2003, against Carlos Moya in Umag, Croatia. Nadal was 17 years old…
Vesnina, bad day
Elena Vesnina could have posted her story to the “F**k My Life” website and she would have won hands down. It all started with a loss through withdrawal against Marion Bartoli on clay in Madrid. But this is nothing compared to the nasty surprise that awaited her upon her return to the locker room. She gave the account of what happened next on her Twitter account: "Very disappointed in the tournament, I lost yesterday and besides that, I realized that someone had stolen my watch from my tennis bag in the locker.” Great…
Tsonga, the wooden artist
When he's not shooting ads for kids' sweets in France, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wanders the streets. Thus, in the latest commercial for his sponsor Adidas, the Frenchman discovers his new pair of shoes. And he suddenly decides to customize them. Except that the Frenchie is not an artist and disfigures the shoe. It requires the intervention of Ana Ivanovic to help him fix the carnage. Watch it there:
Roger wants to equal McEnroe
In life, what goals can Roger Federer still have? After all, the Swiss player has already won everything on the tour and should, in principle, stay a while with the label of best player in tennis history stuck to his forehead. But Roger is a man of challenges. His next? Matching McEnroe's record: "I would love to match McEnroe's record with 77 victories, that's obvious. He was a great player [...] and he continued to make tennis attractive even after his retirement, commenting matches, pursuing a career on the Senior Tour, and participating in operations to promote tennis." With 76 victories, Federer is not far from his objective and claiming the third-best record in tennis, in terms of tournament victories. Catching the first two, however, seems impossible. Indeed, the American Jimmy Connors (109) and the Czech Ivan Lendl (94) are too far ahead. To console himself however, Federer can still point to his 17 Grand Slam triumphs, 3 more than his nearest rival, the American Pete Sampras.
By Mathieu Faure