An excerpt from Maria's SovSport interview (June 27, 2012):
It is still not clear who among the Russians will play mixed doubles in London. Do you have any plans for that?
And with whom to play mixed doubles? There's no one (Maria shrugs and then she adds, lost in a thought for a moment) If Alex Ovechkin would play, I would have give it a try...
Do you and Alexander often play tennis together?
Personally I, not really, but he and my dad love it. Sasha, by the way, is seriously getting better every day, plays very good (Kirilenko nods approvingly)
A gifted athlete is good in everything.
That's it! Just like the puck on the ice, he handles the ball on the court almost perfectly. Always hits exactly with the center of the racket. But what is not exactly right is how he moves. It looks as if he glides on the skates. It's funny sometimes to watch it (smiles). But what is more important he runs fast!
Is he in London with you too, just like he was in Paris at Roland Garros?
Not right now. Sasha flew to America, it is been decided there if there will be another lockout or not. But he will be back in a couple of days.
Does his support during the games really help?
Well, sometimes Sasha can say something at the wrong time or he is simply not right. But that's okay, he's not the coach, not a pro to consistently give the correct advice. But when he shouts and root for me from the podium, it really gives me more strength. Here's the example, Nadia Petrova and I got in the finals of "Roland Garros" just because of his shouting and rooting for us!
Have you tried to play hockey?
Sure, I played once, in America. I took a stick and went on the ice! But I didn't put all hockey gear, I wouldn't be able to play in it.
Did you play one-on-one against Ovechkin?
And why do we need someone else?
So wasn't it scary to play against him on the ice? You can get plastered by Ovechkin into the boards, he is known in the NHL for that...
I got plastered too... but only gently (voluptuously adds Maria).