Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Challenging Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987 in Nyagan a town in the Siberian region of Russia. In 1989 the family moved to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. When she was 4 years old, a chance encounter changed her life. She met with the father of tennis champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov. The man gave her a racket. From then she started hitting tennis balls. Sooner tennis became a passion for her.  Two years later Martina Navratilova was flabbergasted by the talent of the 6 years old.  She recommended her father to put her in the world famous Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. 

Soon after the same advice was repeated by the head coach of the Russian Federation. Her father took her to the U.S without knowing a word of English and with less than $1,000 in his pocket. IMG, the sports Management Company agreed to sponsor Maria and put up the $35,000 US per year it costs to stay at the Bollettieri Academy.  Not knowing English Maria was very shy and introverted.

While her father took odd jobs, Maria moved into the school dorm when she was 9. She shared room with three older girls. She quickly learned English. She missed her mother Yelena who remained in Russia because of not getting the proper visa.

Two years later, her mother was finally able to come to Florida. Her official tennis career began in 2001, when she joined the junior circuit. The same year she won 25 matches and lost only three.  She came away with three titles Sacramento, Hilton Head and Pilsen in the Czech Republic. The following season, Sharapova did even better on the junior circuit with 26 victories and three losses. She won three titles Vancouver, Peachtree and Gunma in Japan. The same year, she was allowed to play limited number of matches on the professional tour.

She won one match and lost two. She was ranked 186th on the WTA Charts. In 2003 she joined the WTA Tour and impressed everyone with her talent. She made 34 wins and a negligible 11 losses.
Sharapova also won the titles Quebec City and the Japan Open. Her ranking had improved to the place of 32.

In 2004, she stunned Wimbledon audiences when she beat champion player Serena Williams making Sharapova the first Russian to win a Wimbledon single title and the third youngest women’s champion in history.

She is currently residing in Florida. She is still playing in matches and focusing on yet more victories to come.

Keywords – Maria Sharapova, Wimbledon, WTA Charts, Florida, Russia, professional tour.

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