Sharapova the stamp-collecting nerd
LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) Maria Sharapova feels such a dork after confessing she likes collecting stamps.
The willowy Russian teenager would much rather talk about her passion for the new Nelly Furtado album.
''Enough is enough'', cried her agent who is being bombarded with requests for interviews from stamp-collecting magazines.
For one of the most marketable players in modern tennis, poring over a stamp album does jar with her image -- and she wishes she had never let on.
The 2004 Wimbledon champion, who has dropped just six games in her effortless progress through this year's first two rounds, was peppered at her latest post-match news conference today with all the usual sports questions about how she felt she was playing.
Then reporters got serious.
In reply to the question ''You're a stamp collector then?'' she laughed and said ''Oh God, stop. Everyone's calling me a dork now.'' ''My agent said not to talk about that because he's definitely got so many e-mails from people,'' she said. ''We're getting e-mails from, like, stamp-collecting magazines asking if I can do an interview. I mean, it's just a hobby.'' When a reporter with deadpan face asked what her favourite stamp was, the 19-year-old Sharapova smiled and said ''Let's get off this subject because I'm going to be an absolute geek tomorrow.'' For many young players, the iPod is not just a fashion accessory.
Their favourite songs help to psyche them up when they step on court.
So what is Sharapova's musical choice before she goes on court and, with an ear-splitting grunt, smashes the living daylights out of a tennis ball? ''I was just listening to Nelly Furtado's new CD,'' Sharapova said of the Canadian singer-songwriter topping the charts. ''She sounds really rebellious these days.'' Eager to underline that stamp-collecting players can have street cred too, she said of the rebellious streak in Furtado's new album ''Yeah I love it. She's a strong girl.'' REUTERS DH RAI2116