Maria Sharapova: Maria Yuryevna Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987.She is a Russian professional tennis player. As of December 3, 2012 she is ranked World No. 2. A United States resident since 1994, Sharapova has won 27 WTA singles titles, including four Grand Slam singles titles. She has also won the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2004. The Women’s Tennis Association has ranked Sharapova World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and regained the ranking for the fifth time on June 11, 2012. She has been in seven Grand Slam finals with a record of 4–3.
Sharapova made her professional breakthrough in 2004 at age 17, when she defeated two-time defending champion and top seed Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final for her first Grand Slam singles title. She entered the top 10 of the WTA Rankings with the win. The World Number One ranking followed in 2005, along with subsequent major titles at the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open, before she was forced out of the game for ten months by a recurring shoulder injury, which ultimately required surgery in October 2008. Sharapova returned to the game in May 2009, returning to the top 10 in March 2011 and capturing her fourth grand slam title at the 2012 French Open. By doing so, it made her the 6th woman in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam. In the same year, she won an Olympic silver medal in the London 2012 Olympics.
Sharapova has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has been featured in many advertisements, including for Nike, Prince and Canon, and is the face of several fashion houses, most notably Cole Haan. Sharapova was the most searched-for athlete on Yahoo! in 2005 and 2008. Since February 2007, she has been a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, concerned specifically with the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme. In June 2011, she was named one of the “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present and Future” by Time, and in March 2012 was named one of the “100 Greatest of All Time” by Tennis Channel.
Maria Sharapova’s parents, Yuri and Elena, are from Gomel, Belarus. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly before Sharapova was born. When Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi. There her father befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and become Russia’s first number one world-ranked tennis player. Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet at the age of four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park.She took her first tennis lessons with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin, who was instantly impressed when he saw her play, noting her “exceptional hand-eye coordination.”
At the age of six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri borrowed the sum that would enable him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States, which they finally did in 1994. Visa restrictions prevented Sharapova’s mother from joining them for two years. Arriving in Florida with savings of US$700, Sharapova’s father took various low-paying jobs, including dish-washing, to fund her lessons until she was old enough to be admitted to the academy. In 1995, she was signed by IMG, who agreed to pay the annual tuition fee of $35,000 for Sharapova to stay at the academy, allowing her to finally enroll at the age of 9 Sharapova withdrew from the 2012 Brisbane International because of her ongoing ankle injury. Her first tournament of the season was the 2012 Australian Open, where she was seeded fourth. Sharapova advanced to the fourth round conceding just five games, defeating Gisela Dulko, Jamie Hampton, and the 30th seed Angelique Kerber en route. In the fourth round, Sharapova defeated the fourteenth seed Sabine Lisicki in three sets, 3–6, 6–2, 6–3, to reach her first hardcourt Grand Slam quarterfinal in four years. She then defeated compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets, 6–2, 6–3, to reach the semifinals. There she defeated the world No. 2 Petra Kvitová, 6–2, 3–6, 6–4, to reach her third Australian Open final, and her sixth grand slam singles final overall. She lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final 3–6, 0–6. As a result her ranking improved to world No. 3.
In February, Sharapova aided Russia to a 3–2 victory over Spain during the 2012 Fed Cup quarterfinal with a 6–2, 6–1 win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa. She then played in the Paris, where she lost in the quarterfinal to eventual champion Angelique Kerber 4–6, 4–6. As a result her ranking improved to World No. 2.
At the Indian Wells, Sharapova faced Gisela Dulko in the first round and won 6–2, 6–0. Sharapova defeated Simona Halep and Roberta Vinci en route to reaching the quarterfinals.
After battling for over three hours, she defeated compatriot Maria Kirilenko, 3–6 7–5 6–2, to set up a semifinal meeting with Ana Ivanovic. Sharapova won the first set 6–4 and advanced to the final after Ivanovic retired due to a hip injury. In the final, she played world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of the Australian Open final, but lost again 2–6, 3–6.
Sharapova’s next tournament was the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, where she was seeded 2nd. She received a bye to the second round where she faced Shahar Peer and won in three sets 4–6, 6–3, 6–3. Her next opponent was Sloane Stephens, where Sharapova won in straight sets 6–4, 6–2. In the fourth round she won in straight sets, 6–4, 7–6, against countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova and advanced to the quarterfinals where she faced Li Na, whom she beat 6–3, 6–0. Her semifinal opponent was fellow former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. After an inconsistent first set, Sharapova won the match 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. In the final, Sharapova lost in straight sets to 5th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 7–5, 6–4. This was her third loss of the year in finals out of four tournaments played so far.
In the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Sharapova was seeded second. She had a bye in the first round, and advanced to the third round after Alize Cornet retired in the second set. In the quarterfinal, she defeated No. 5 Samantha Stosur 6–7(5), 7–6(5), 7–5 after saving a match point in the second set, and advanced to the final with a 6–4, 7–6 (3) win over No. 3 Petra Kvitova. She won her first title of the year in Stuttgart after defeating world number one Victoria Azarenka 6–1, 6–4. In doing so, Sharapova defeated three current Grand Slam title holders to win the tournament. It was also her first win against Victoria Azarenka in five finals, and the third of such this season.
Sharapova then played on the controversial blue clay courts of the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open, a premier mandatory event. She eased through the first round in straight sets against Irina-Camelia Begu 6–0, 6–3. In the next round she faced Klara Zakopalova and also won in straight sets with 6–4, 6–3. In the third round Sharapova’s opponent Lucie Safarova was unable to compete and withdrew from the tournament, earning Sharapova a walkover into the quarterfinals. She was then beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams in straight sets 6–1, 6–3.
Sharapova carried the flag for Russia during the Opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. She lost in the final to Serena Williams to take the silver medal.
As the defending champion and number two seed at the Italian Open, Sharapova had a bye in the first round. She battled through the second round against 20 year-old Christina McHale and prevailed 7–5, 7–5. She then faced thirteenth seed Ana Ivanovic and won 7–6(4), 6–3 in 1 hour 47 minutes to advance to the quarterfinals. Sharapova then defeated former world No. 1 Venus Williams 6–4, 6–3, meaning that Sharapova has reached the quarterfinals or better in all nine tournaments she has played this year. In the semifinals, Sharapova avenged her defeat to Angelique Kerber in Paris earlier in the year by beating her 6–3, 6–4 to advance to the final for the second year in a row. In the final, Sharapova saved match point for a 2 hour 52 minute, 4–6, 6–4, 7–6(5) win over Li Na for her 26th career title. This marked the fourth time Sharapova had successfully defended a title.
Sharapova was seeded 2nd at the French Open where she showed her dominance by defeating Alexandra Cadanțu in the first round in 48 minutes by the score of 6–0, 6–0.
Sharapova then defeated Sara Errani in both competitors’ first French Open final (and a first Grand Slam final for Errani). By reaching the final, she regained the world No. 1 ranking.
Coincidentally, the last time Sharapova was No. 1 was right before the 2008 French Open, due to the sudden retirement of then No. 1 Justine Henin, a four times Roland Garros champion. Sharapova became only the 10th woman to complete a career grand slam with the French Open 2012 victory. She is the 6th woman in the open era to achieve the career grand slam, joining Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, and Serena Williams. During the tournament, Sharapova was also asked by the Russian Olympic Committee to carry the Russian flag in this year’s Olympic Games.
Sharapova then extended her win streak to 15 matches when she competed in the Wimbledon Championships as the No. 1 seed there for the first time in her career. However, she was upset in the fourth round by 15th-seeded Sabine Lisicki, whom she beat in last year’s semifinals. The score was 6–4, 6–3. As a result, she lost her No. 1 ranking, taken back by Victoria Azarenka.
She played in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, her first Olympics. She was the flag bearer for Russia during the Olympics Parade of Nations. Seeded 3rd in the tournament, she won her first round match against Israeli player Shahar Pe’er. She then defeated Great Britain’s Laura Robson to reach the third round, where she avenged her 2012 Wimbledon loss to Sabine Lisicki by beating her 6–7(8), 6–4, 6–3. In the quarterfinals, Sharapova defeated fellow former no. 1 Kim Clijsters by 6–2, 7–5 to advance to the semifinals, where she faced her compatriot, Maria Kirilenko. Sharapova defeated Kirilenko 6–2, 6–3 to reach the Olympic Final, where she lost to Serena Williams 0–6, 1–6, marking her worst defeat to the American. With this performance, Maria overcame Agnieszka Radwanska as world no. 2.
Sharapova was seeded 3rd at the US Open, but had no hardcourt tune-ups after the Olympics due to a stomach virus. At the US Open, she made it to the semifinals before losing to top seeded Victoria Azarenka in three sets.
Sharapova’s next tournament was the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. She made it to he quarterfinals, losing to Sam Stosur 4–6, 6–7(10)only the 2nd lost to the Australian in 12 career meetings. At the China Open she was seeded second. She made it to the finals, en route defeating Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and Li Na in the semifinals. There she faced Azarenka in their fourth final and fifth match overall against one another this year. Sharapova lost to Azarenka 3–6, 1–6.
Her next tournament will be the year-end championships in Istanbul, where she will be seeded 2nd. She faced Sara Errani in her first round robin match, defeating her 6–3, 6–2.
She secured a spot in the semifinals with a 5–7, 7–5, 7–5 win over Agnieszka Radwańska in her next match. Sharapova defeated Sam Stosur in her final round robin match, 6–0, 6–3. In their sixth meeting of the 2012 season, Sharapova defeated Victoria Azarenka, 6–4, 6–2. Although she has made it to the final, Azarenka clinched the year-end number one ranking with her two round robin wins. Thus, Sharapova will end the year as world no. 2. She lost to Serena Williams in the final, 6–4, 6–3.
Sharapova played an exhibition match in Prague, and won both her matches, defeating Petra Kvitova 6–1 and Lucie Safarova 7–6.
Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of seven. Besides a home in Bradenton, Florida, she also has residences in Manhattan Beach, California and in Netanya, Israel. Sharapova was engaged to Slovenian professional basketball player Sasha Vujačić, who plays for the Anadolu Efes S.K. in Istanbul, Turkey. The two had been dating since 2009. On August 31, 2012, Sharapova confirmed that the engagement was off and that they had broken up in spring of 2012. From 2005–2011, Sharapova has been named in Forbes Celebrity 100. This lists her as one of the top 100 most powerful celebrities of the year.
Sharapova has made varying remarks on how long she intends to maintain her tennis career. Following the retirement of 25-year-old Justine Henin in 2008, Sharapova said, “If I was 25 and I’d won so many Grand Slams, I’d quit too.” In an interview after the 2008 Australian Open, she balked at the idea of playing for another ten years, saying that she hoped to have a “nice husband and a few kids” by then. However in an interview before her 2012 Australian Open semifinal, Sharapova changed her stance, saying she intended to continue playing tennis for as long as she enjoyed playing the game. Sharapova stated “I’m sure when I was 17 years old and someone said, you’ll be playing for another eight years, it would be like, you’re not going to see me at a press conference at 25 years old. But years go on. I missed a year in my career—I didn’t play that year. I’ve said this, just before the tournament, a few weeks before, I woke up and I was just so happy to be going back on the court. I felt so fresh, full of energy, just with a really good perspective.
Times change, obviously. I see myself playing this sport for many more years because it’s something that gives me the most pleasure in my life. I think it helps when you know you’re good at something, and you can always improve it. It obviously helps with the encouragement.”
At the 2004 US Open, Sharapova, along with several other Russian female tennis players, wore a black ribbon in observance of the tragedy after the Beslan school hostage crisis, which took place only days before. In 2005, she donated around US$50,000 to those affected by the crisis. On February 14, 2007, Sharapova was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donated US$210,000 to UNDP Chernobyl-recovery projects. She stated at the time that she was planning to travel back to the area after Wimbledon in 2008, though it didn’t happen, as she had to travel back to the US because of shoulder injury. She fulfilled the trip in late June – early July 2010. Sharapova has helped to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In addition, with Angela Haynes, Maria Kirilenko, Nicole Vaidišová, Rennae Stubbs, Governor Jeb Bush and Jennifer Capriati, Sharapova participated in an exhibition in Tampa in December 2004, raising money for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund. In July 2008, Sharapova sent a message on DVD to the memorial service of cancer victim Emily Bailes, who had performed the coin toss ahead of the 2004 Wimbledon final that Sharapova had gone on to win.
- 2003:Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Newcomer of the Year
- 2004:WTA Player of the Year
- WTA Most Improved Player of the Year
- 2005: ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
- Named the country’s best female player for the year by Russia’s tennis federation
- Master of Sports of Russia
- Prix de Citron Roland Garros
- 2006: Named the country’s best female player for the year by Russia’s tennis federation
- Whirlpool 6th Sense Player of the Year
- 2007: ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
- ESPY Best International Female Athlete
- ESPN Hottest Female Athlete
- 2008: Named the January 2008 female Athlete of the Month by the United States Sports Academy for her performance at the Australian Open
- ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
- 2010: WTA Fan Favorite Singles Player
- WTA Humanitarian Of The Year
- WTA Most Fashionable Player (On Court)
- WTA Most Fashionable Player (Off Court)
- WTA Most Dramatic Expression
- 2012:ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
Her official website: http://www.mariasharapova.com/
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.