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Sharapova won't forget tennis, though. This is what those who know her keep saying, that she is the anti-[Anna Kournikova], even as she appears in the pages of the Italian edition of Vogue, even as her agent at IMG, Max Eisenbud, admits he can't imagine Sharapova still playing tennis at the age of 30. This is the girl, after all, who always seemed to find the motivation when her coach in California, Robert Lansdorp, would lay down 10- and 20-dollar bills at various spots on the court, and tell her she could keep the bills if she could hit them with her returns.
In the end, it will be up to Sharapova herself to decide. Lansdorp insists she wants not one title, not a top-10 ranking, but the No. 1 ranking. But her place in the sport is different after Wimbledon, as Sharapova discovered last week, when she showed up in New Haven, Conn. On Tuesday night, Sharapova double-faulted a dozen times and lost in three sets to the No. 81-ranked player in the world, Mashona Washington.
AP FILE PHOTOS - 1) Maria Sharapova may have been born in Russia, but she seems more than ready to take advantage of any opportunity that the United States has to offer. 2) Maria Sharapova, above, has a tournament victory to sell, something Anna Kournikova has yet to accomplish. 3) Photo by Jason Decrow - Maria Sharapova 4) Getty Images Photo - Maria Sharapova looks to a cash in on Wimbledon win.