Maria Sharapova is one of the most famous and successful tennis players in the history of the sport. She has won five Grand Slam titles, an Olympic silver medal, and 36 WTA singles titles. She has also been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for 21 weeks. She is one of ten women, and the only Russian, to achieve the career Grand Slam. She is also an Olympic medalist, having won silver in women’s singles at the 2012 London Olympics.
Name: Maria Sharapova (middle name Yuryevna)
Born: April 19, 1987
Turned Pro: 2018
Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987, in Nyagan, Russia. She started playing tennis at the age of four, and moved to Florida with her father at the age of nine to pursue her dream of becoming a professional tennis player. She caught the attention of tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who suggested that she enroll in a tennis academy. She turned pro at the age of 14, and quickly rose to fame with her powerful strokes and aggressive style of play.
Sharapova’s breakthrough came in 2004, when she stunned Serena Williams in the final of Wimbledon to win her first Grand Slam title at the age of 17. She became an overnight sensation, and a global icon of tennis. She followed up her success with another Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2006, and reached the world No. 1 ranking for the first time in 2005. She also won the WTA Tour Championships in 2004, and became one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world.
Sharapova continued to dominate the tennis scene with her consistent performances and fierce determination. She won her third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2008, and completed her career Grand Slam by winning Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014. She also reached the final of the Olympic Games in London in 2012, where she lost to Serena Williams but earned a silver medal for her country.
However, Sharapova’s career took a dramatic turn in 2016, when she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. She tested positive for meldonium, a substance that had been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since January 1, 2016. Sharapova claimed that she had been taking meldonium for a decade for health reasons, and that she was unaware of its prohibition. She was initially suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), but later appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which reduced her ban to 15 months.
Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April 2017, but struggled to regain her form and ranking. She faced criticism from some fellow players and fans, who questioned her integrity and eligibility to play. She also suffered from injuries and lack of confidence, which affected her results and performance. She won her last WTA title in Tianjin in October 2017, and reached her last Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open in 2018.
Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis in February 2020, at the age of 32. She wrote a farewell letter to the sport that she loved, and thanked her fans, coaches, family, and friends for their support throughout her career. She said that she was ready to start a new chapter in her life, and explore new opportunities and challenges.
Sharapova’s legacy as a tennis player is undeniable. She is one of the most accomplished and influential female athletes of all time. She has inspired millions of people around the world with her passion, talent, and courage. She has also built a successful business empire away from the court, with her own candy brand Sugarpova, and endorsements with various brands such as Nike, Canon, Evian, and Tag Heuer.
Sharapova’s career also had its share of controversies and setbacks. Her doping scandal tarnished her reputation and credibility as a clean and fair player. Her rivalry with Serena Williams was one-sided and bitter, as she lost 20 out of their 22 matches. Her injuries and decline prevented her from achieving more glory and greatness on the court.
Sharapova’s story is a tale of triumph and tragedy, of highs and lows, of dreams and nightmares. It is a story that captivated and divided the tennis world for almost two decades. It is a story that will be remembered and debated for years to come.
Read all the latest news about Maria Sharapova