Before Serena and Venus, there were Manuela, Katerina and Magdalena - the Maleeva sisters. Three girls who emerged from behind the iron curtain to be ranked in the top-10. Manuela reached 3, Magdalena 4, Katerina 6. All became superstars in Bulgaria, but life moves on and the youngest, Maggie, is now better known as an environmentalist.

"I have always been interested in climate change," she said at Wimbledon, where she is taking part in the Invitational Event. "Even 10 years ago I tried to recycle my things, so when I stopped playing tennis I did a small initiative with my husband (Lubomir) which is called Gorichka. Our goal was to talk about these things in a way that would reach people who don’t care, so we created a website on which we published articles every day. Our main goal was to be positive and offer solutions, and we gave good examples of people or companies or friends that tried to do similar things.

"This initiative has grown quite a lot in Bulgaria and now there is a school with a two-day seminar, and we offer a one-day seminar to companies who want to become sustainable. It is quite exciting because a lot of people appreciate it.

"I get invited to quite a lot of conferences on different sustainable issues. Universities invite me sometimes to speak. I’ve met quite a lot of businessmen, important people, so if any way I can influence them to be more responsible I try to."

"Now in Bulgaria a lot of people don’t associate me anymore with tennis. They associate me more with what I have done afterwards, which is quite funny. I’m known more as an environmentalist than a tennis player, which is a huge compliment to me because it means I have managed to retire quite happily from tennis. That wasn’t an easy thing to do."

Leave a Reply.