Maria Sharapova's father Yuri is well-known, but her mother Yelena has stayed somewhat mysterious. Yelena doesn’t attend her daughter’s matches any more, and many people wonder what she looks like and what the relationship between her and Maria is. I revealed part of the secret of Maria's mother last month, when I included a Christmas photo of the two of them together. However, in an interview after the Australian Open semifinal against Jelena Jankovic, Maria, who soon after became the tournament champion, explained the role of her mother in her life.
Q. Your father's very visible. How would you say your mother contributes in a positive way to your career?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: My mom is just – she brings such good energy and positive chi into myself and all the people that are around her. She's a very quiet and intelligent woman that, you know, that just is happy with life, with her life, you know, is happy for me.
You know, both of my parents sacrificed so much in their life to get me where I am today. You know, and my mom was very keen on keeping me educated and, you know, when I – when she came to the United States after – I didn't see her for a couple of years.
She just – she kept working me on my Russian essays and she made me read. She's like, You didn't do this for two years. I can tell.
And she's the one that always takes me to museums. She knows when this exhibition is going on. She'll take me to the musicals. She's a very wonderful woman.
Q. What would happen if she had to sit beside your father during matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: She has before. When I played juniors, she went to some tournaments. But it's – it's one of those things I feel like if she did travel around I would really feel like I'm taking her life away from her, because I – I mean, it's wonderful having one parent around you that knows you best.
I mean, apart from my dad I also have Michael, who I've known since I was 10 years old. The people around me I can trust and believe in because they've been with me since I was young, before all of my success.
But my mom, my mom takes care of, you know, all the things at home, and she looks after both of my hoists, and, you know, she just – she does all my fan mail and all that, you know.
Q. How often do you see her? I mean, how often it happens that are there, within one year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: When I'm done with tournaments, yeah. She sometimes comes like the week before Grand Slams and stuff.
Q. You haven't talked about it that much, but how tough was it for you not to see her for two years when you were young? Because that's pretty tough on a young kid not to see their mom.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think really – it was good because I was so young and I didn't – I think if I would have had to do it now it would have – it would be a lot tougher.
But I think when I was younger I was just so excited and, I don't know, overwhelmed by this, by the move, you know, to the United States, by the new surroundings, that I don't remember too much of it.
And in those days, I mean, I didn't – I barely talked to her on the phone. You didn't really have good communication back then. But I always remember writing her letters. I'd always write her letters, and when I first – I remember the day that I saw her after those two years. She just looked at me, she's like, Oh, my, you've changed so much.
It's weird, because you don't – it's not like she saw me on TV where she sees me now, or we talk. I mean, we talked maybe once in six months. It would be a lot – much tougher if I had to do it now.
Q. Can you describe her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There's a lot of resemblance to Uma Thurman, actually. Everyone who meets my mom says she looks like Uma Thurman. It's so funny. (source: Maria Sharapova's site via Tennis Info Blog, photo with family via Sports)