Despite her young age, Maria Sharapova has reached great heights in her profession as tennis player. Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a top tennis player and has been ranked World No. 3 by Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). She has collected a series of titles throughout her career, one in Grand Slam, WTA Championships, and seven in WTA Tour Tournaments. Beyond that, she also has received 4 WTA Awards and Olympic silver medal in the London 2012 Olympics. Former world number one, Maria Sharapova, even after being the most successful player in the world of tennis and winning huge amount of prize money every year, the inner child of the Russian beauty is still an honest, down to earth and sweet. She didn’t have the privilege of enjoy the luxuries of a high-class lifestyle during her childhood. Here are ten life facts of Maria Sharapova gathered by us:
1. World´s Number One
At the age of 17, in 2004, Maria achieved way too high in life by breaking into the finals at Wimbledon. Her opponent then was Serena Williams who has been a defending champion always. At the court, during the Grand Slam, Williams looked more nervous than the 17 year old champ. The triumph of Maria in that match was like a dream come true and a set example for the whole of women’s tennis in Russia. She became the third youngest female to claim the title in the tournament’s history. Sharapova has been ranked no.1 by WTA five times on different occasions and for 21 weeks in total. She became the world no. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and last from June 11, 2012 to July 8, 2012 for almost four weeks.
Off court, during her free time, Maria enjoys reading books and her interest mainly lies in “Sherlock Holmes” and “Pippi Long stocking” collection series. Beyond that, she also has interest in modeling in fashion, singing, jazz dancing and movies (Pearl Harbor (2001)). Except Italian bread, Maria loves Russian food and music and any kind of dessert as she says her favorite dessert is just “anything”.
3. Her Shoulder Injury
In 2007, a shoulder injury led to downfall of Sharapova which made her face many losses, but still she was amongst the top 5 women’s tennis players at the end of that year. Her shoulder injury continued to affect her game which forced her to leave tennis for a surgery to repair the injury. In 2011, after a treatment and rehabilitation of one year, Maria returned to the game when she finished the year ranked 4, her first top 5 finish since 2007. Due to her shoulder injury, Sharapova lost in the semifinals to Aravane Rezaï. In the semifinals of French Open, she lost to Ana Ivanovic. Thereafter, she also lost to Venus Williams, experiencing her earliest Wimbledon loss. Within a short span of time, she fell out of the top 5 in the world rankings for the first time since 2004.
4. Split with fiancé Sasha Vujacic
Sharapova was engaged to Sasha Vujačić, a basketball player, who plays for the Anadolu Efes S.K. in Istanbul, Turkey. The two were into a relationship since 2009. In 2010, Vujacic proposed Maria on the first anniversary of their meeting at a friend’s place. After that, he was there throughout with Sharapova to support her at Wimbledon. He accompanied her during her run to the final, stood and screamed for Sharapova standing in the guest box.. However, on August 21, during Maria’s post match news conference at the US Open, she revealed that the engagement between her and professional basketball player Sasha Vujacic has quietly ended several months ago.
Motorola signed Sharapova to endorse their mobile phones immediately after her win at Wimbledon Championship in 2004. At a young age of 11, she signed her first deal with Nike in 1997. Maria followed the trend by Fred Perry and René Lacoste and launched her own tennis apparel line, the Nike Maria Sharapova Collection in the year 2010. By getting associated with Nike Sharapova got even richer. Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has extended her sponsorship deal with Nike in an eight-year $70 million agreement. The contract included dresses designed by Maria for all the major tournaments. Her beauty and popularity also led her to commercials of renowned brands like Land Rover, Canon, as well as approved of namesake items by watch brand Tag Heuer and jeweler Tiffany & Co. She has been ranked as the highest paid-female athlete of the world and the highest paid athlete in Russia for the last several years.
6. Moving to the US
In 1994, Maria’s father took her to US for tennis lessons after the advice of Martina Navrátilová. To fund the classes of Sharapova, Youri had to borrow funds and take up low paid jobs in Florida like dishwashing. The hurdle of not knowing proper English, living alone and her mother not accompanying due to visa restrictions did not prove effective in Sharapovas’s career. Later, she was old enough to fund her lessons and in 1995, she got associated with IMG who paid her annual tuition fees of $35,000.
7. Tennis Lessons
After practicing with her father, Sharapova took her first tennis lessons with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin. He was extremely impressed by her hand-eye coordination and the way she used to play. In 1993 Maria attended a tennis exhibition tournament in Moscow which was run by Martina Navratilova. During the tounamnet, when Martina saw her talent and potential, she recommended Maria professional training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, from where players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova have already been trained earlier. She felt it would be the best place and opportunity for the little girl to enhance her skills.
8. Started playing tennis at the age of four
When Sharapova used to live in Russia, her father became friends with Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son was Yevgeny. Aleksandr’s son at that time was the first Russian to become world’s no. 1 tennis player and had already one two Grand Slam singles titles. The father of one of Russia’s most successful male players presented Maria a cut down tennis racquet by him. She was only four years of age at that time. Thereafter, she started practicing tennis regularly with her father in a local park. Even though, Maria’s family was not wealthy enough to bear all her tennis expenses, they never stepped back and always helped her in every frontier. She never faced any resistance from her family and was never pressurized to focus more on studies and less on sports.
9. Most searched athlete on yahoo in 2004-05
Even though Maria did not do really great in tennis in 2011, failing to win a major, she made it to the Wimbledon final and the French Open semifinals. Her popularity did not get affected by her downfall at all. Maria was the most searched for athlete this year, according to Bing.com.
10. Family and Childhood
Maria Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Siberia, Russia on April 19, 1987. She is the only child of Youri Sharapova and Yelena Sharapova. Her parents who earlier lived in Gomel, Belarus, left the city in 1986 because of the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. They then moved to Nyagan where Maria was born. In 1989, when Sharapova was two, the family again shifted to Sochi, also known as a resort city as well as the home of famous Russian tennis player, felling Nyagan was still prone to disasters. There she met Aleksandr Kafelnikov, her father’s friend, who presented her with a tennis racquet. As her interest in tennis flourished, she started practicing tennis by playing with the ball against the side wall of her house. Seeing her enthusiasm, her father admitted her to a tennis academy at the age of six.