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Maria Sharapova

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Maria Sharapova

Born : 18 April 1987
City : Nyagan, Russia
Rank : ( 683 )
Rating: 0 (0 Ratings)
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Maria Sharapova Biography

Early life

Maria Sharapova was born on 19 April 1987 in Nyagan, Russian SFSR. Her parents, Yuri and Elena, are from Gomel, Belarussian SSR. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly before Sharapova was born, moving from Gomel to Nyagan.

Introduction to tennis

In 1989, when Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia. There her father Yuri befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and become Russia's first world No. 1 ranked tennis player. Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet in 1991 when she was four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park.Maria took her first tennis lessons with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin, who was instantly impressed when he saw her play, noting her "exceptional hand-eye coordination".

Start of professional training

In 1993, at the age of six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri Sharapov borrowed the sum that would enable him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States of America, which they finally did in 1994.Visa restrictions prevented Sharapova's mother from joining them for two years. Arriving in Florida with savings of US$700, Sharapova's father took various low-paying jobs, including dishwashing, to fund her lessons until she was old enough to be admitted to the academy. Before she entered the IMG business, she trained with Rick Macci, in the Rick Macci Tennis Academy. She then was offered a deal from IMG which forced her to change academies. Originally, she did train with Rick Macci, but after the deal with IMG, she could not see Rick Macci anymore. In 1995, she was signed by IMG, who agreed to pay the annual tuition fee of $35,000 for Sharapova to stay at the Academy, allowing her to finally enroll at the age of 9.

Playing style

Sharapova is an aggressive baseliner with power, depth, and angles on her forehand and backhand.She is one of the few players on the WTA tour who often uses the reverse forehand. Instead of using a traditional volley or overhead smash, she prefers to hit a powerful "swinging" volley when approaching the net or attacking lobs. Sharapova is thought to have good speed around the court, especially considering her height. At the beginning of 2008, some observers noted that Sharapova had developed her game, showing improved movement and footwork and the addition of a drop shot and sliced backhand to her repertoire of shots. Despite her powerful game, Sharapova's greatest asset is considered to be her mental toughness and competitive spirit, with Nick Bollettieri stating that she is "tough as nails". Hall-of-famer John McEnroe said of Sharapova, "she's one of the best competitors in the history of the sport." Sharapova is known for on-court "grunting", which reached a recorded 101 decibels during a match at Wimbledon in 2005. During her second round match in Birmingham in 2003, Sharapova was asked to tone down the level of her grunt after opponent Nathalie Dechy complained to the umpire, with Sharapova's response saying that her grunting was "a natural instinct." Monica Seles suggested that grunting is involuntary and a part of tennis. When questioned by the media about her grunting, Sharapova urged the media to "just watch the match." Her defensive game has been worked on by her new coach, and this has reflected in her results, making consecutive semi-finals at premier mandatory events on the tour.

Personal life

Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of seven. Besides a home in Bradenton, Florida, she also has a residence in Manhattan Beach, California.Sharapova was engaged to Slovenian professional basketball player Sasha Vujačić, who plays for the Anadolu Efes S.K. in Istanbul, Turkey.The two had been dating since 2009. On August 31, 2012, Sharapova confirmed that the engagement was off and that they had broken up in spring of 2012. Since the second half of 2012, she is dating Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov. The two only confirmed their relationship after the 2013 Madrid Open. From 2005 to 2011, Sharapova has been named in Forbes Celebrity 100. This lists her as one of the top 100 most powerful celebrities of the year.

Sharapova has made varying remarks on how long she intends to maintain her tennis career. Following the retirement of 25-year-old Justine Henin in 2008, Sharapova said, "If I was 25 and I'd won so many Grand Slams, I'd quit too."In an interview after the 2008 Australian Open, she balked at the idea of playing for another ten years, saying that she hoped to have a "nice husband and a few kids" by then.However in an interview before her 2012 Australian Open semifinal, Sharapova changed her stance, saying she intended to continue playing tennis for as long as she enjoyed playing the game. Sharapova stated "I'm sure when I was 17 years old and someone said, you'll be playing for another eight years, it would be like, you're not going to see me at a press conference at 25 years old. But years go on. I missed a year in my career—I didn't play that year. I've said this, just before the tournament, a few weeks before, I woke up and I was just so happy to be going back on the court. I felt so fresh, full of energy, just with a really good perspective. Times change, obviously. I see myself playing this sport for many more years because it's something that gives me the most pleasure in my life. I think it helps when you know you're good at something, and you can always improve it. It obviously helps with the encouragement."

Sugarpova

"Sugarpova" is a candy line created by Maria Sharapova and candy veteran Jeff Rubin, founder of international retailer IT'SUGAR.According to the Sugarpova website, "Sugarpova is a premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side of international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova."The line currently consists of 12 different flavors that range from Flirty, to Smitten Sour, to Splashy.A portion of all proceeds go towards the Maria Sharapova Foundation, Sharapova's charity.Sugarpova was launched worldwide in 2013 through IT'SUGAR and Selfridges stores.

According to her agent, Sharapova seriously considered changing her last name to Sugarpova for the 2013 US Open, but ultimately decided against it.However, some reports suggest that she made an application to a Florida Court to that effect.

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