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Maria Sharapova Images

Maria Sharapova potrait

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova


Maria Sharapova

Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player, and currently World No. 4. Her parents are originally from Homiel, Belarus, but moved to Russia in 1986 in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Russia, the following year. While being ethnically a White Russian (Belorussian), Shrapova holds the Russian citizenship.

At the age of three, Sharapova moved with her family to the resort town of Sochi, beginning to play tennis at the age of four, using a racquet given to her by Yevgeny Kafelnikov's father. At age five or six, at a tennis clinic in Moscow, Sharapova was spotted by Martina Navratilova, who urged her parents to get her serious coaching in the United States.

In 2004, Sharapova became the second youngest Wimbledon women's champion in the Open Era (after Martina Hingis) by defeating defending two-time champion Serena Williams in straight sets (6-1, 6-4). In the process she also became the first Russian ever to win that tournament.

Maria Sharapova uses the Prince Shark Racket and consequently the popularity of the racket has gone through the roof.

A 6 ft 2 in. and growing blonde, Sharapova is regarded by many as possessing a natural beauty and figure and has done some modeling in November 2003 with IMG Models. She enjoys fashion and is known to read celebrity magazines. However, she says she does not want to overdo these activities, preferring to focus on her tennis. She is often compared to Anna Kournikova, also a Russian Bollettieri student and model. However, Sharapova, Bollettieri, and Kournikova all reject the comparison.

From June 2004 until her Wimbledon semi-final appearance in 2005, Sharapova had a 22-match winning streak on grass, including back-to-back Birmingham titles and the Wimbledon crown. Sharapova's huge success continued after winning Wimbledon, with a victory at the WTA Season-Ending Championships and consistent results.

In November 2004, Sharapova signed a deal to represent Canon Inc. and promotes both their cameras and office products.

In April 2005, Sharapova was listed by People Magazine as among the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In June of 2005, Forbes magazine listed Sharapova as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with annual earnings of $18 million. A significant portion of this amount came from endorsements.

Defending her Wimbledon title in 2005 proved to be a simple enough task at first, with Sharapova sailing through to the semi-finals with ease without losing a set. However, she dropped her first set of the tournament against a rejuvenated Venus Williams and lost the match 6-7 1-6 in one of the most thrilling and masterful displays of power and accuracy seen in the women's game. Sharapova's streak on grass was ended, as was her quest for the No. 1 ranking, with Lindsay Davenport, who lost a historic match to Venus Williams in the 2005 Wimbledon final, holding firm.

However, a back injury Davenport sustained in the Wimbledon final meant that she could not defend her titles won during the US hard court season of 2004. Because of this, she lost valuable ranking points. Sharapova was also suffering from an injury and did not complete a tournament during the season; however, she had fewer points to defend and therefore rose to the No. 1 ranking on August 22, 2005. However, Sharapova's reign was short-lived, lasting only a week after Davenport re-ascended after winning the New Haven title. Sharapova rose to No. 1 ranking again on September 12, 2005 despite losing in the Semi-finals of the US Open.

Her loss in the semifinal of the 2005 US Open against Kim Clijsters, marked the fourth time that season she lost at a Grand Slam tournament against the eventual champion: Australian Open-SF-Serena Williams, French Open-QF-Justine Henin-Hardenne, Wimbledon-SF-Venus Williams, US Open-SF-Kim Clijsters.

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