- 11:40 AM, Feb 20
man as she recalled: “Then I hit a few balls and he called Nick right away.” Sensing the amazing talent she possessed, Bollettieri put her in despite the complaints of other parents who considered the foreign girl was too young and not talented enough.
While Maria studied tennis with persistence, Youri restlessly worked all kinds of jobs to pay her training cost so both of them seldom met each other. Moreover, Yelena was unable to come to U.S. because of visa restrictions and the family's financial situation until the next couple years. This condition certainly made her quite depressed as she has admitted: “I didn't see my mum for two years and I barely saw my dad for one year. I was living in a dormitory by myself and sacrificed a lot of things.” Fortunately, things turned better as her excellent advancement drew the attention of International Management Group (IMG) thus granted her a full scholarship. All of her restlessness ultimately could be put behind when Yelena at last could land her feet safely in U.S. Maria afterwards set to prepare herself to enter tennis tournament. By 1997, she had already ventured into prestigious competition at Eddie Herr International Junior Championships in 14-and-under division.
Maria finally earned her first trophy by winning the singles at Angela Maria Lopera in October 2000. The thirteen-years-old girl quickly gained the second one, being the G16 Singles Winner at Eddie Herr International Junior Championships in only a month after her initial triumph. On April 19, 2001, she turned professional and made her debut at an ITF event in Sarasota on April 29. Although she lost to Karin Lynn Miller in the round of 32, she satisfyingly scored superb attainment in the junior tournaments during the year, collecting four trophies in singles. Under the coaching of her own father and Robert Lansdorp, Maria's star shone brighter by the year of 2002. After obtaining the Target Cup at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, she got her first triumph in pro as she won ITF Championship in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. To everyone's awe, she swept two more trophies at the same competition in Vancouver and Peachtree City.
Fully concentrated on pro, Maria continued to impress people with her brilliant skills by 2003. She claimed her first WTA singles title as she became the winner of Japan Open in October. In the same competition, she also