Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (shah-RAH-puh-vuh, born April 19,
1987) is a former World No. 1 Russian professional tennis player
and model. Her parents are originally from Gomel, Belarus, but moved
to Russia in 1986 in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Russia, the following year. She now
lives in the USA but retains Russian citizenship.
At the age of three, Sharapova moved with her family to the resort
town of Sochi, beginning to play tennis at the age of four, using
a racquet given to her by Yevgeny Kafelnikov's father. At age five
or six, at a tennis clinic in Moscow, Sharapova was spotted by Martina
Navratilova, who urged her parents to get her serious coaching in
the United States.
In 2004, after a spectacular run, which included three-set wins
over Ai Sugiyama (5-7, 7-5, 6-2) and Lindsay Davenport (2-6, 7-6,
6-1), Sharapova became the third youngest Wimbledon women's champion
(after Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis) and second youngest in the
Open Era by defeating defending two-time champion Serena Williams
in straight sets (6-1, 6-4).
She also became the first Russian ever to win that tournament.
Sharapova followed it up with a victory at the season-ending WTA
Championships, knocking off Serena Williams yet again by a score
of 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. In the final set, she came back from a defecit
of 4-0, and still won.
Maria Sharapova currently uses the Prince o3 White Racket and consequently
the popularity of the racket has gone through the roof.
At 6 ft 2 in., Sharapova is regarded by many as possessing a natural
beauty and figure and has done some modeling in November 2003 with
IMG Models. She enjoys fashion and is known to read celebrity magazines.
However, she says she does not want to overdo these activities,
preferring to focus on her tennis. She is often compared to Anna
Kournikova, also a Russian, a Bollettieri student, and a model.
However, Sharapova, Bollettieri, and Kournikova all reject the comparison.
From June 2004 until her Wimbledon semi-final appearance in 2005,
Sharapova had a 22-match winning streak on grass, including back-to-back
Birmingham titles and the Wimbledon crown. Sharapova's huge success
continued after winning Wimbledon, also. In November 2004, Sharapova
signed a deal to represent Canon Inc. and promotes both their cameras
and office products.
In April 2005, Sharapova was listed by People Magazine as among
the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In June 2005, Forbes
magazine listed Sharapova as the highest-paid female athlete in
the world, with annual earnings of $18 million. A significant portion
of this amount came from endorsements.
Defending her Wimbledon title in 2005 proved to be a simple enough
task at first, with Sharapova sailing through to the semi-finals
with ease without losing a set. However, she dropped her first set
of the tournament against a rejuvenated Venus Williams and lost
the match 6-7 1-6 in one of the most thrilling and masterful displays
of power and accuracy seen in the women's game. Sharapova's streak
on grass was ended, as was her quest for the No. 1 ranking, with
Lindsay Davenport, who lost a historic match to Venus Williams in
the 2005 Wimbledon final, holding firm.
However, a back injury that Davenport sustained in the Wimbledon
final meant that she could not defend her titles won during the
US hard court season of 2004. Because of this, she lost valuable
ranking points. Sharapova was also suffering from an injury and
did not complete a tournament during the season, but she had fewer
points to defend and therefore rose to the No. 1 ranking on August
22, 2005. Sharapova's reign was short-lived, lasting only a week
after Davenport re-ascended after winning the New Haven title. Sharapova
rose to the No. 1 ranking again on September 12, 2005 despite losing
in the Semi-finals of the US Open.
Her loss in the semifinal of the 2005 US Open against Kim Clijsters
marked the fourth time that season that she lost at a Grand Slam
tournament against the eventual champion: Australian Open-SF-Serena
Williams, French Open-QF-Justine Henin-Hardenne, Wimbledon-SF-Venus
Williams, US Open-SF-Kim Clijsters. That streak was broken in January
2006, when Sharapova lost in the Australian Open semi-final to Justine
Henin-Hardenne. Henin-Hardenne went on to lose in the final of the
Australian Open to Amélie Mauresmo.
In February 2006, Sharapova featured in a six-page bikini photoshoot
spread in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue annual magazine
which debuted on Valentine's Day, along with 25 other scantily-clad
supermodels. Sharapova joined the ranks of other athletes who have
previously appeared in the publication.
On March 18, Sharapova, as No.3 seed, claimed her first title of
the year at the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells (a Tier 1 event),
defeating No.4 seed Elena Dementieva in the final, 6-1 6-2. This
is her first title in 2006 and the 11th in career. Sharapova is
the first Russian to reach the final of the Pacific Life Open. As
Dementieva reached the final later, surprisingly defeating Justine
Henin-Hardenne, this was the first-ever all-Russian final at this
Tier I tournament. Soon after, she had a run at the Nasdaq-100,
which included a thrilling win over Tatiana Golovin, whom she beat
6-3, 6-7, 4-3 when Golovin retired with an ankle injury. She lost
in the final, though, to a rededicated Svetlana Kuznetsova by a
score of 4-6, 3-6. She then took 2 months off, which included pulling
out of events in Rome and Instanbul, coming into the French Open
with no clay-court warm up.
FHM Magazine ranked Sharapova eighth among the "100 Sexiest
Women in the World" in its 2006 List, up from her 36th placement
in the previous year's edition.
Through an ankle injury, Maria finally decided to participate at
the 2006 French Open. After saving 3 match points in the 1st round
against Mashona Washington, Sharapova was shockingly eliminated
in the 4th round by Dinara Safina, the sister of Marat Safin. She
blew a lead of 5-1 in the 3rd set, and lost 18 of the last 21 points
to lose by a score of 5-7, 6-2, 5-7. She welcomed the onset of the
grass season, but failed to add a third successive Birmingham title
to her collection when she lost in the semi-finals to Jamea Jackson.
Sharapova studies via correspondence on the internet with the Keystone
High School home schooling program and has a liking for sociology.
As of 2004, she is in her second year of high school at 17 years
of age. (source: Inside Tennis magazine, Sept. issue)
WTA Newcomer of the Year
WTA Player of the Year
WTA Most Improved Player of the Year
WTA Player Service
ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
Named Russia's tennis federation as the country's best female player
for the year
Awarded the honorary Master of Sports of Russia title
Says what she enjoys most about being a professional tennis player
is the travelling/getting to meet new people and see new cultures.
Is good friends with fellow Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko,
despite not getting along with many of the other female Russian
Is affectionately called "Masha".
Is currently single. (Stated by herself on Total Request Live)
Is ambidextrous, and was undecided about which hand to use dominantly
up until her professional tennis career began.
This article (or parts thereof) is
copied from an article on Wikipedia.org
- the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community.
Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles
provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the
accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed
under the terms of GNU
Free Documentation License.