Maria Sharapova Biography
Born in Nyagan, Russia on April 19, 1987, Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is one of the world’s most recognisable and successful female tennis players. At the time of writing this article (April 6, 2015), she was ranked number 2 in the World by the Women’s Tennis Association behind Serena Williams having won four WTA titles in 2014, namely in Stuttgart, Madrid, Roland Garros, which was her fifth Grand Slam title and Beijing.
Originally from Gomel, in the Belarussian SSR, Maria Sharapova’s parents, Yuri and Elena moved to Nyagan just before she was born as they had become worried about the effects caused by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986. A couple of years after Maria was born, the family moved again, this time to Sochi and it was there where tennis entered the family’s lives as Yuri became friends with Aleksandr Kafelnikov who is the father of Yevgeny, Russia’s first world number one. It was Aleksandr who gave Maria her first tennis racquet when she was four years old. Maria showed a lot of interest early on and would practice with her father every chance she got. She went on to have her first tennis lesson with Yuri Yutkin who was instantly impressed by the young Sharapova.
Maria was only six years old when she attended a tennis clinic run by Martina Navratilova who recommended professional training for her in Florida. Although money was a problem Yuri managed to borrow enough to get him and his daughter to the United States. They arrived in 1994. With only $700 to their name and with very little knowledge of English Yuri took a number of low paying jobs to enable Maria to have tennis lessons. Finally in 1995, she was signed by the International Management Group who payed the annual $35,000 tuition fee, which would allow Maria to enrol at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida at the age on nine.
Maria Sharapova made her debut on the tennis scene in 2000 winning girls’ 16 division of the Eddie Herr Junior Tennis Championships even though she was still only 13. She made her professional debut at the age of 14 and played her first WTA tournament in 2002 where she won a match before being beaten by Monica Seles. She played a number of junior tournaments and ended up being ranked number 6 in October 2002 in the ITF world junior rankings. In that year she was runner up at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Over the next few years, Maria Sharapova’s rise would be meteoric winning Wimbledon and Los Angeles in 2004. She won the US Open in 2006 and was runner up in the Australian Open and Madrid in 2007. She went on to win the Australian Open in 2008 and would go on to win the French Open twice in 2012 and 2014. She was runner up in the Australian Open in 2015 being beaten by Serena Williams in the final 3-6, 6-7(5-7).
Maria Sharapova has lived in the United States since she was seven years old and she has a place in Bradenton, Florida as well as one in Manhattan Beach, California. She is currently dating Grigor Dimitroc, the Bulgarian tennis player and has said that she intends to go on playing tennis for as long as she enjoys it. Not that she needs the prize money though. In 2006, Forbes magazine listed her as the highest paid female athlete in the world with earnings of over $18m, most of which comes from sponsorship deals and endorsements. She has been at the top of that list ever since. According to Forbes, in 2014, Maria’s tenth straight year at the top of their list, she earned over $24m. On top of her $2.4m in winnings with the majority of the rest coming from deals with Nike, Porsche, Samsung, Tag Heuer, Evian and Head. She has also just added a $1m per year deal with Avon.
No matter what she is worth in monetary terms though, we think Maria Sharapova is an absolute peach.
|Maria Sharapova at a Glance|
|Date of Birth:||April 19, 1987||Build:||Athletic|
|Place of Birth:||Nyagan, Russia||Height:||6′ 2″ (188cm)|
|Measurements:||34-24-36 (87-61-91.5 cm)|
|Dress Size:||4 (US) 34 (EU) 8 (UK)|
|Shoe Size:||11 (US) 42.5 (EU) 8.5 (UK)|