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ffMagdalena Maleeva

BBulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva has been a WTA stalwart for 13 years. ace decided it's time British readers learned a bit about her.


What would you have done if you hadn't been a professional tennis player?

Maybe I woul have been an artist. I loved drawing and painting very much when I was young.

Your sisters Manuela and Katerina were also playing on the tour when you started in the early 90's. Did it help having them around?

I enjoyed very much having them around. I learned a lot from them and for my mum, who was herself once the Bulgarian No.1. It was easier for me moneywise, travelwise, and equipmentwise. There is a big age difference between them and me, so I didn't argue with them much.

Are the Maleevas the most famous sporting family in Bulgaria?

Yes. There have been more famous individual athletes, but no family is more famous than us.

Which player do you most fear?

I have a lot of respect for LIndsay Davenport. Somehow I thing she's the best. I don't know why. It's just my impression on her.

Which was the proudest moment of your career?

I didn't play for 15 months because of injury and now I am almost back to the level I was before. I was determind not to get injured any more and I am sure I solved a lot of my own problems myself. I am very proud of that.

How did you solve your problems?

I used to be in such pain I couldn't walk. I did a lot of research on what I had and read a book called Healing Back Pain by Dr. Samo. I thing he's a genius. People fera back pain. Now I know my back is normal and I believe I'm not going to get hurt.

What is you most embarassing moment?

I did something terrible last year. I got mad and I threw my racket so hard, I almost hit a linesman. When I remember this I don't feel good. I could have hurt him. It was close.

What car do you drive?

I have a really nice Audi, but I don't even know what kind it is. It's huge. It's not the car I would choose. I am going to get rid of it and buy an electric car.

Which player do you most admire?

I have a lot of respect for my sisters, because I know what they did and how hard they worked, and I know them as people too. It's very close relationship. They are both mothers now. Manuela has three kids and Katerina has two. I wish I could see my nieces and nephews more.

If there is one rule in tennis you could change, what would it be?

I think we should eliminate the let service. If we continue to play after a netcord during a rally, then why not play them on the serve? Also, let's get rid of the long deuces. The first advantage point wins the game.

What irritates you about your job?

You have to be so far away from home. You don't have a home, basically. On the other hand, you have the chance to travel the world and become more open-minded.

What do you think on tennis coverage in the newspapers?

I only read interview - not articles. I don't thing tennis journalists know a lot about the game.

What are you most likely to complain about in a hotel?

Not being able to open the window. I always like to have fresh air.

Favorite music, films and books?

I love Pearl Jam, Asian Dub Foundation and Bjork. One of my favourite films is The TIme of the Gypsies, which was made in Bosnia. Milan Kundera is my top author.

Do you have a boyfirend?

I've been seeing Lubomir Nokov for seven years. His first name means "Love and Peace" in Bulgarian. He studies communications and media.