Former Open winner Maria brings L.A. Laker Sasha Vujacic with her as a good-luck charm.
As Maria Sharapova attempts to reclaim the U.S. Open title she hasn't won since 2006, she has a good-luck charm on her side: NBA champion boyfriend Sasha Vujacic. The Slovenian-born Lakers star and the 17th-ranked tennis player in the world have been dating since November, when they were snapped cuddling at a U2 concert. And just think of the portmanteau nickname possibilities! Vujapova. Masasha. Sashapova! Oh, man, our heads are spinning.
Maria confirmed the relationship in January, but both have kept it pretty quiet—his official Twitter is all about basketball, and she has a long history of not commenting on her private life. Still, we find this couple kind of cute and hilarious, mainly because of how they tower over everyone. Maria's one of the tallest women on the pro tour at 6'2", but 6'7" Sasha makes her look dainty. Awww.
The two pro athletes have more in common than just a drive to win, though. She told USA Today in January, "We rarely talk about sports, but it's just an understanding of what we do," she says. "We never have to talk about it. We just know. It's there. It makes it easier and nicer." And he says her drive inspires him. "She has helped me," Sasha told Fanhouse while training alongside Maria in Florida earlier this month. "We've helped each other, I think. As two pro athletes—in different sports—we both understand what the other is doing and going through, and what it takes to do well in what we do. She's working hard. I'm working hard. It's good together.'' Melanie Oudin's Boyfriend's U.S. Open Secret
The couple often works out together, and Sasha accompanied Maria to Belarus earlier this summer when she visited victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident at a hospital she supports. And he was in the stands at Wimbledon as well, even though she couldn't make it to the Staples Center to watch him win his second NBA championship. "I am very happy for him and the team. I got a lot of pictures from it online and it seemed really crazy. I respect that determination to win, that spirit no matter what the score is," she said from Birmingham, England, where she made a run to the finals in a Wimbledon warmup. Luckily for Maria, Sasha decided not to represent Slovenia at the World Basketball Championship in Turkey this year, so he was free to cheer in Flushing at her first match today.
Photo via Bauer-Griffin.