Amanda Anisimova says it’s a huge compliment to be compared to the great Maria Sharapova but she hopes to make her own name in the tennis world.
The American teenager has been dubbed the ‘next Maria Sharapova’ due to her Russian roots and long blonde hair.
‘HOPE TO PLAY’: Roger Federer drops big news about future
‘DISRESPECTFUL’: Tennis star slams rival's 'stupid' father
Manager Max Eisenbud hasn’t shied away from making the comparison, recently saying Sharapova has outlined the perfect blueprint for Anisimova to become a global superstar.
“Obviously, there are similarities, it's hard to go away from that,” Eisenbud, head of IMG Tennis, told CNN Sport.
“I am the agent, they're both very attractive, they both have Russian roots, all that kind of stuff. There are those similarities that will always be there. But they are very different personalities.”
As for Anisimova, she says she’s flattered by the Sharapova comparison but hopes the name Anisimova will be just as big by the time she finishes her career.
“I don't feel like there's any pressure,” the 18-year-old told Sky Sports about being compared to Sharapova.
“It's actually really nice and gives me a little bit of confidence when people compare me to her and say those kinds of things.
“She's an amazing athlete and has accomplished so much so to have people believe in me like that is really nice but in my own future I just want to be the next Amanda.
“We still have our differences but when it comes to people comparing me to her it's a huge compliment.”
The 18-year-old recently signed what’s believed to be a $100 million deal with Nike after her run to the 2019 French Open semi-finals “really caught a lot of people's attention.”
She would go on to lose to eventual champion Ash Barty, but Anisimova made a lot of people sit up and take notice.
In January, she joined Serena Williams as the only tennis players to be sponsored by Gatorade.
Eisenbud has openly admitted that part of Anisimova’s global appeal is her ability to gain fans through social media.
And Anisimova agrees, saying the modern media forces young athletes to mature a lot quicker than in the past.
“Yes, I definitely think that you mature quicker when there's a lot of media interest,” Anisimova said.
“You just have to be aware of what you say and how you act, so in a way, yes. But also growing up playing tennis you learn a lot about independence and maturing quickly so that kind of prepared me for that.”
Anisimova defends US Open call amid virus crisis
Anisimova recently questioned Nick Kyrgios’ claims the ATP is being ‘selfish’ in trying to play the US Open amid the coronavirus pandemic.
All tennis remains suspended until at least the end of July, but the American major is still slated from late August in New York (one of the coronavirus epicentres).
Taking to Twitter, Kyrgios slammed the ATP and US Open.
“The ATP is trying to make the US Open go ahead. Selfish with everything going on at the moment,” he tweeted.
“Obviously Covid, but also with the riots, together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion.”
The ATP is trying to make the US Open go ahead. Selfish with everything going on at the moment. Obviously Covid, but also with the riots, together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion. https://t.co/tEHPvr4miB— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 11, 2020
However Anisimova disagrees.
“I don’t see why not give it a try,” Anisimova wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
“Of course there will be a ton of safety protocols in place, and many precautions made.
“Other sports are coming back, so why can’t tennis? Playing without fans is a huge bummer, but at least we get to play at all.”