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THE MALEEVAS

About 15 000km separate Sofia and the National Tennis Centre in Flashing Medows, New York. However, the way that Manuela and Katerina had passed through is not messured only in kilometers. The mere fact that two sisters succeeded in becoming pro-tennis players is a success. The fact that they became the highest ranked sisters ever, since the existence of the rankings ( or the sisters) and that they still play in the second week of the Us Open , make them even more remarkable.

"When I was 7-8 years old I dreamed that I can play vs Chris Evert - says Manuela, now 21 years old -I had never seen her before, but I have heard of her and I knew she was very strong. Those were dreams. I didn't think, they will become reality. Katya and I didn't know about the professional tennis players or tournaments. Now I head already played vs Chris Evert, I had beaten her. Sometimes it seems to me that I still dream. When I see where I had reached I have to admit. it is quite unbelieveble.

I never thought I will be that high ranked one day- says Katerina - I never thought I will become pro- tennis player. Tennis has never been a popular sport in Bulgarien. I couldn't have known that we will be the first. The professional tennis was a world far different from the one we lived in, something far away.

No matter where they had started from or the great distance to the tennis elite, the Maleevas are now here. "Many people think that I had something as a plan, a dream - my daughters to become professional tennis players. - Julia Berberyan says - The truth is that I had never even thought about it. Everything became reality gradually."

" No doubt that Julia was the moving force. - says Phill de Pichito from "Advantage International