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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 01/20/2013

Read this: How Alex Ovechkin met Maria Kirilenko

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Maria Kirklenko, the future Mrs. Alex Ovechkin, at the Australian Open where she advanced Saturday. (Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Everyone is praising tennis star Maria Kirilenko as the influence behind Alex Ovechkin’s new maturity. Our colleague Katie Carrera gives some background on their relationship: They met at the 2011 U.S. Open; last year, she visited the Capitals superstar in D.C., and he followed her to Wimbledon and the Olympics; and then he took advantage of the lockout to hang out with her in Moscow. Sounds like he ceremonially popped the question in front of their families at New Year’s. No word on a wedding date. And he is very, very happy: “Sometimes I go home and if I was in a bad mood, when I see her I just forget.” Read: Alex Ovechkin finds contentment in more settled lifestyle

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