Written by: Marisa Tassone
***Marisa Tassone is an OTA ranked player training at Player’s Edge with Bill Cowan. Marisa went to Paradise Island in Bahamas and got to live every kid’s dream: to play with their idol.***
Every kid who plays a sport dreams of playing with his/her idol. On a recent trip to the Bahamas, I got the surprise of a lifetime when my parents told me that I would be on court with one of my tennis idols, Maria Sharapova. I found out I was going to hit with Maria in January of this year when my parents found out she was going to be having an exhibition match with Gisela Dulko. My parents found out that her coach Cecil Mammiit and Gisela Dulko’s coach and brother Alejandro Dulko were going to have a workshop where I would have the opportunity of playing with Maria. They signed me up right away!
Before the day came I was not nervous at all, but as it got closer and closer, I became more nervous. That morning, to say I was nervous was an understatement. The last thing I wanted to do was look bad in front of Maria and Cecil. Cecil took us through some drills and this really helped to calm me down. That is until I saw the “girls” as Cecil called them, arrive. When Maria Sharapova and Gisela Dulko walked onto the court, I was in awe. At 6’2” tall, Maria is striking and also a little intimidating but talking to her, you soon realize that she’s not only an amazing tennis player (ranked # 1 in the world four different times) but she’s extremely down-to-earth and funny.
She was definitely one of my favorite tennis players before the opportunity. When I started the sport (2 and a half years ago), she was one of the most famous tennis players at the time. She has many endorsements such as Nike and even brands that are not related to sports, so she is well known in the world outside of tennis as well, and I had heard of her before I was more involved in tennis.
Maria is playing some of the best tennis of her life right now but I don’t know if I was responsible for this. She has really been putting the time into her game! But it would be nice to think I was her good luck charm!
Being on court with her is an experience I will never forget.