Ovechkin says Kirilenko good for him

Ovechkin says Kirilenko good for him
September 7, 2012, 8:00 pm
Share This Post

They are a match made in tabloid heaven.

Alex Ovechkin, the burly, jut-jawed captain of the Washington Capitals. Maria Kirilenko, the stunningly beautiful princess of Russian tennis.

OK, so they havent quite reached the celebrity status of Brad and Angelina, William and Kate or Justin and Selena. But if youve been watching any womens tennis lately, youve probably spotted Ovechkin cheering on his girlfriend from the stands.

So just how many of Kirilenkos matches did the Capitals captain take in this summer?

Every match, he told CSNWashington on Friday. It was fun. It was something good for me to support her. Its something I like to do when I have time off and I have vacation.

Ovechkin, who will turn 27 on Sept. 17, and Kirilenko, who will turn 26 in January, are both from Moscow. They began dating early last season, although Ovechkin admits it was a long-distance relationship at first.

We were always on the phone or on Skype, Ovechkin said. Later in the season three times she come here, so she was here a lot. Its good. Its the kind of relationship I like.

Ovechkin accompanied Kirilenko to Wimbledon, where she reached the quarterfinals, and to the Summer Olympics in London, where she lost in the semifinals to silver medalist Maria Sharapova.

Kirilenko came home from London with a bronze medal after she and Nadia Petrova upset the No. 1-ranked doubles team of Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber. She has recently risen to 12th in the WTA ranking, her highest ever.

London was cool for the Olympics and Wimbledon was unbelievable, Ovechkin said.

I met great athletes and great people. Just to see how the best tennis players prepare, what they do before, how they warm up, its always nice to see what different players do.

Ovechkin said he would arrive at stadiums 3 hours before Kirlenkos matches.

Its a lot of waiting, he said, but its something exciting.

Before meeting Kirilenko, Ovechkin admits he knew nothing about tennis. But he played a lot of it this summer.

Tennis helps me a lot to be in good shape, Ovechkin said. When youre not practicing and eating food and watching you get out of shape. But I was always running and moving when I played.

In following the WTA tour Ovechkin said he quickly realized what the rest of the tennis world already knows Serena Williams is nearly unbeatable.

I think Serena right now is the best, Ovechkin said. Shes just a machine, especially in the Olympics, beating everyone 6-0, 6-1. Shes amazing.

It was during the Olympics that Ovechkin tweeted out photos of him and Kirilenko, including one that showed a large ring on the ring finger of her left hand.

So, is the sound of wedding bells in the air for two of Russias most eligible athletes?

Oh, no, Ovechkin said. Just a present from me, thats all. No engagement. No wedding bells.

At least not yet.

We have a good relationship, he said. Its always nice to have that kind of person around you. Its good.