The life of Maria Sharapova
"Tennis — I'm saying goodbye." 32 years and five Grand Slams later, Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement. This is the story of her career and achievements.
Who is Maria Sharapova?
Rise to fame as a tennis teenager
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987 to Yuri and Yelena Sharapova in Siberia, Russia. Her mother was pregnant with her when the couple fled Belarus to escape the fallout from the Chernobyl explosion. At age six, Sharapova was spotted and recruited by tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Persuaded by the pro, Sharapova and her father emigrated to Florida in 1994 with only $700 in their pockets. After receiving a full-time scholarship to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, she played in her first professional tennis tournament at age 14 in 2001. At 15, she became the youngest person ever to reach the finals of the Australian Open Junior Championships.
“I just want to grow as a tennis player, I want to get better. I don't look at pinnacles or results as a resolution. I don't think many of us keep our resolutions anyway so it's probably not a good way to look at things. I have so much experience behind my back and I kind of know what works and what doesn't and I still have the mentality and goals ahead of myself…I just want to grow as a tennis player, I want to get better,” Sharapova shares in archived interviews.
Off the court
While Sharapova is most well-known for her tennis accolades including the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon singles title, world no. 1 at 18, 5 grand slam tournaments wins, a second Wimbledon title, and an incredibly loud grunt, she leads an incredible life off of the court as well. As a Harvard Business School student, she developed her candy line, Sugarpova. She also became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and donated $100,000 to help victims of the Chernobyl disaster. This month, she retired from tennis at age 32 and looks forward to what is ahead.