Maria Sharapova is a Rusian professional tennis player in the WTA who inspires wonders and encourages young ones, especially girls, to infuse passion as well as hard work in whatever chosen field of career. Sharapova is one of the greatest sportswomen the game of tennis has known. Earning accolades as well as breaking records, Sharapova is one few women as well as the only Rusian who holds the Grand Slam. We journey into the life of this great sports character in our Maria Sharapova biography facts, childhood and personal life.

Maria Sharapova Biography Facts

Full Name:Maria Yuryevna Sharapova
Nicknames:Sibirskaya Sirena, The Siberian Siren, Screaming Cinderella
Born:April 19, 1987 (age 31)
Place of Birth:Nyagan, Siberia, Russia
Zodiac Sign:Aries
Nationality:Russian
Height:6 feet 2 inches
Shoe Size:11
Weight:150 Ibs (68kg)
Education:IMG Academy, The Keystone School
Parents:Yuri Sharapova (Father), Yelena Sharapova (Mother)
Net Worth:$196 million
Occupation:Tennis Player
Playing Career:2001–present

Maria Sharapova Childhood and Early Life

Maria Sharapova childhood photo
Photo of Maria Sharapova as a baby

Maria Sharapova was born on 19 April 1987 to her mother, Yelena Sharapova and father, Yuri Sharapova, in the Nyagan town of Russia.

Sharapova’s interest in Tennis was one which was noticed by her father’s friend Aleksandr Kafelnikov who handed her the first racquet she’s owned at the tender age of four. Aleksandr’s son was Russia’s first world title after claiming several Grandslams. Her unusual and brilliant style of play was noticed also by the coach (Yuri Yutkin) who taught Sharapova her first Tennis lesson.

When Sharapova turned six, she began taking Tennis classes at a Tennis clinic. On seeing Sharapova progress, they recommended she attended IMG Academy, Florida for her professional training. Despite not having sufficient funds, her determined father (Yuri Sharapova) borrowed money in order to see his little girl get the best Tennis training to compete in the major league. Upon her arrival to Florida, Yuri resorted to menial jobs, to sponsor his little girl’s Tennis classes, pending the time she was of age to enrol in the Academy. Before she attended Academy, Sharapova trained with the Rick Macci Tennis Academy. However after signing with IMG, Sharapova discontinued her session with Rick Macci.

Photo of Maria Sharapova during her early life
Maria Sharapova early life. She started playing tennis at a young age. Photo credit: 24SMI

Maria Sharapova Tennis Career

Sharapova announced her arrival to the Tennis world in 2000, after defeating other contestants to claim the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championship. She won the girls 16 division at the tender age of 13. After winning the tournament, Sharapova was awarded the Rising Star Award. The award was of significant joy to Sharapova as it was not just awarded to any tennis player, but those who have shown phenomenal and unique tennis prowess.

Sharapova went pro on her 14th birthday and competed for the first time in the 2002 WTA tournament match. As a result of the varieties of restrictions in professional tennis, she went to Junior tournaments to improve her skills. Sharapova went on to become the youngest girl to get to the final of the Australian Open junior championship at just 14 years old. In October 2002, Sharapova was ranked no.6 in the ITF junior world rankings. Sharapova won three junior singles tournament and emerged runner-up in five tournaments in total.

In 2003, a focus-driven Sharapova played in an entire season which saw her rankings climb up to the top 50. She debuted in the French Open and the Australian Open but failed to secure a win. In September 2003, Sharapova secured her first WTA title at the Japan Open Tennis Championship. She went on to win the Bell Challenge.  At the end of the season, Sharapova has bestowed the WTA Newcomer of the Year Award.  After reaching the third round of two Tier 1events, the Qatar Telecom German Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Sharapova booked her space in the top 20 on the WTA World rankings.

Sharapova also went on to defeat a top 10 ranked player, Elena Dementieva, for the first time in her career, in the 2004 French Open. She reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, the French Open. Sharapova also won her career third title, the DFS classic. She also advanced on to defeat Serena Williams who was then the defending champion to win the Wimbledon title, her first ever Grand slam singles title. Her win saw her become the second Russian woman to win the Grand Slam singles titles, and the third youngest woman to claim the Wimbledon title.  Sharapova also moved her rankings to the top-10 due to her win. Sharapova became the cynosure of the media after her Wimbledon title win, she competed in the US Open where she was eliminated in the third round. Sharapova competed in different Asian tournaments where she won successive titles, the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships as well as the Japan Open Tennis Championships. In October, Sharapova defeated major stars to reach the finals of several major events. She defeated Venus Williams to reach the final of the Zurich Open which she lost. At the WTA Tour Championship, she defeated Serena Williams in the Final to win the tournament.

At the 2005 Australian Open, Sharapova went on to the final before she lost to Serena Williams. She won the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the Qatar Total Open, which saw her rankings shoot up to no. 3. Sharapova got to the final of diverse major tournaments which she lost; they include the semi-final of the Pacific Life Open, the NASDAQ-100 Open, the semi-final of the Italian Open as well as the quarter final of the French Open. Sharapova also defended her DFS classic tournament but failed to do so with her Wimbledon Tournament. In August 2005, Sharapova became world no.1 for the first time.

Sharapova 2006 campaign began with a gloomy loss in the Australian Open, but she made up for her loss by winning the Indian Wells, a tier 1 event. At the French Open, Sharapova was unsuccessful, losing in the fourth round, as well as the semi-finals at the Wimbledon. Sharapova improved to win her second title of the 2006 campaign, the Acura Classic, before going on to win, the US Open, her second Grand Slam Singles title. Sharapova also claimed consecutive titles—the Zurich Open and Generali Ladies Linz. She finished the year at the no.2 spot in theworld rankings.

Photo of Maria Sharapova during Australian Open 2007
Maria Sharapova in action during the Day 13 Australian Open 2007. Photo credit: Zimbio

After losing out in the Australian Open final in 2007, Sharapova returned to the no. 1 spot in the world rankings. She fell out of the no. 1 spot after failing to defend her Pacific Life Open title. Sharapova went on to secure her only title of 2007, the Acura Classic after failing to win the DFS Classic as well as the French Open after suffering a shoulder Injury. She also failed to defend her US Open title. At the end of the year, Sharapova was in the top 5 in the world rankings. Sharapova won her third Grand Slam titles singles, the Australian Open despite not being considered a favourite, she also entered the world no.1 following the retirement of world no.1 Henin from professional tennis and also her immediate request for the removal of her rankings by the WTA. Sharapova began to decline after losing out in the French Open in the fourth round as well as the second round in the Wimbledon title. Sharapova missed majors tournaments which included the US Open, and the WTA Tour Championships after it was revealed that she suffered a rotator cutoff tear.

In the next season campaign, Sharapova struggled in tournaments. This saw her rankings go down to no. 32.

In 2011, Sharapova made considerable improvements to secure her spot in the top 10 in the world ranking despite not claiming any title.  She finished the year at no. 4.

Sharapova competed in several events in 2012 but failed to secure any victory. However, she defeated three Grand Slam title holders to claim her first title, Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. She went on to defend her Italian Open title, marking the fourth time she has defended her title. She also went on to claim her first French Open title, while returning to the no. 1 spot in the world rankings. After being selected as the Russian Olympic team flagbearer, Sharapova went to the Wimbledon but failed and was defeated in the semi-finals. At the Olympics, Sharapova suffered her worst defeat from Serena William in the final of the 2012 Olympic Tennis tournament.  At the US open, she was ousted in the semi-finals. At the final of the China Open, Sharapova suffered her 13th defeat to Serena William.

Her 2013 season was plagued with a collar-bone injury. Despite this, she advanced to the finals of notable events, which included the semi-final Australian Open where she was defeated by Li Na, the Qatar Total Open, where she suffered her 10th consecutive defeat to Serena Williams. She, however, won the Indiana Wells tournament. Her win saw her move to the no. 2 spots after dropping off from no. 1 earlier. She suffered her 11th  and 12thconsecutive defeat to Serena Williams, in the Sony Open and Madrid Open in the final of both events. She suffered a similar fate at the French Open Final. Following her comeback from treatment after her shoulder injury, Sharapova lost the Australian Open in the fourth round as well as the Indiana Well Masters, which saw her rankings move down to no. 7. She went on towin her first title of the year, the Stuttgart Open.

Sharapova didn’t slow down but worked hard to win her second French Open title in 2014. Her success continued as she won the Madrid Open, but failed to do so in the Italian Open. She also won the China Open which saw her finish the year at the no. 2.

Sharapova began her 2015 season, with the Brisbane Invitational title, her 34th title. She also went on to compete in the Australian Open where she advanced to the final but lost.  After series of lost in several events, Sharapova claimed her Rome title for the third time.  At the end of the 2015 season, Sharapova ranked no. 4 in the world.

Photo of Maria Sharapova during a practice session
Maria Sharapova in a practice session ahead of the 2016 Australian Open

Sharapova’s 2016 campaign was one marred by a doping scandal. After withdrawing from the Brisbane Invitational, she withdrew from several other events including the Qatar Open, stating her injury in her left forearm was the reason. Sharapova was tested positive to a banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, she was handed a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation. Her ban was reduced to 15 months in October 2016, beginning from January 26, when she failed the drug test.

Sharapova returned to action in April 2017. She received a wildcard to several events which she competed in but failed to win any except the Tianjin Open, which was her first WTA win since returning.

Her 2018 campaign saw her struggle for more tournament wins, which she didn’t get. In the French Open, she qualified to the fourth round where she set to face longtime rival Serena Williams who withdrew citing injury. Sharapova progressed to the quarter-final of the French Open, her first Grand Slam quarter since the 2016 Australian Open but lost out.  She finished the 2018 season in the top 30, precisely no. 29.

Photo of Maria Sharapova in action
Maria Sharapova playing during one of her games

Maria Sharapova Personal Life

Sharapova has been involved in romantic relationships with bigwigs in different industries, from sports, TV to Music. She dated Charlie Ebersol, a TV producer in 2008. After moving on from her break up with Charlie, Sharapova became engaged to Slovenian professional basketball player Sasha Vujacic after dating for a couple of years.  They separated in 2012. Sharapova is currently dating Paddle8 president, Alexander Gilkes.

Despite having lived in the US for more than a decade, Sharapova isn’t a citizen. This is as a result of her choice to hold on to her Russian citizenship.

Sharapova has a foundation named the Maria Sharapova foundation aimed at aiding children worldwide in reaching their goals. Her foundation has donated huge amounts of money to different causes, notably the Chernobyl-recovery project. 

Sharapova is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Sharapova has several endorsement deals with top brands which include Motorola and Porsche.

Sharapova has a candy line dubbed Sugarpova, launched by IT’SUGAR.

Maria Sharapova Awards and Achievement

Sharapova has to her credit, 5 Grand Slam Titles—One at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open and two at French Open along with 35 singles titles.

Maria Sharapova was appointed the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the UNDP specifically for the Chernobyl recovery projects in 2007.

Maria Sharapova was the first torchbearer in the lighting ceremony of the Rusia Winter Olympics in 2014.

Other awards include:

  • Best Female Tennis Player ESPY Award (2014, 2012, 2008)
  • Teen Choice Award For Choice Female Athlete (2007)

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