April 19, 1987 |
Nyagan, Russian SFSR,
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Turned pro||April 19, 2001|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Career record||500–119 (80.75%)|
|Career titles||29 WTA, 4 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (August 22, 2005)|
|Current ranking||No. 2 (May 6, 2013)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (2008)|
|French Open||W (2012)|
|US Open||W (2006)|
|Olympic Games||Silver medal (2012)|
|Career titles||3 WTA|
|Highest ranking||No. 41 (June 14, 2004)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||2R (2003, 2004)|
|US Open||2R (2003)|
Last updated on: May 13, 2013.
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova ( Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова (help·info); born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player who as of May 13, 2013 is ranked World No. 2 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and is the top Russian player and the only one in the top-10 (out of 8 Russians in the top-100). A United States resident since 1994, Sharapova has won 29 WTA singles titles, including four Grand Slam singles titles. She has also won the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2004. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked Sharapova World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks. She became the world no. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and regained the ranking for the fifth time on June 11, 2012. She has been in seven Grand Slam finals with a record of 4–3.
Sharapova made her professional breakthrough in 2004 at age 17, when she defeated two-time defending champion and top seed Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final for her first Grand Slam singles title. She entered the top 10 of the WTA Rankings with the win. The world no. 1 ranking followed in 2005, along with subsequent major titles at the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open, before she was forced out of the game for ten months by a recurring shoulder injury, which ultimately required surgery in October 2008. Sharapova returned to the game in May 2009, returning to the top 10 in March 2011 and capturing her fourth Grand Slam title at the 2012 French Open. By doing so, she became the sixth woman in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam. In the same year, she won an Olympic silver medal in the London 2012 Olympics.
Sharapova has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has been featured in many advertisements, including for Nike, Prince, and Canon, and is the face of several fashion houses, most notably Cole Haan. Since February 2007, she has been a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, concerned specifically with the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme. In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time, and in March 2012 was named one of the "100 Greatest of All Time" by Tennis Channel.
Maria Sharapova's parents, Yuri and Elena, are from Gomel, Belarus. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly before Sharapova was born. When Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi. There her father 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 at the age of four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park. She 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."
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 Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri borrowed the sum that would enable him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States, 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. 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.
Juniors and early career
Sharapova first hit the tennis scene in November 2000, when she won the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships in the girls' 16 division at the age of just 13. She was then given a special distinction, the Rising Star Award, which is awarded only to players of exceptional promise. Sharapova made her professional debut in 2001 on her birthday on April 19, and played her first WTA tournament at the Pacific Life Open in 2002, winning a match before losing to Monica Seles. Due to restrictions on how many professional events she could play, Sharapova went to hone her game in junior tournaments, where she reached the finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2002. She was the youngest girl ever to reach the final of the Australian Open junior championship at 14 years and 9 months.
Sharapova reached no. 6 in the ITF junior world singles ranking on October 21, 2002. In all, she won three junior singles tournaments and was runner-up at five, including two junior Grand Slam events. Her win-loss record in junior competition was 47–9.
2003: First tournament titles
From 2003, Sharapova played a full season and made a rapid climb into the top 50 by the end of the year. She made her debuts at both the Australian Open and the French Open, but failed to win a match in either. Then, as a wildcard at Wimbledon, she defeated 11th seed Jelena Dokić, her first win over a top-20 player, to reach the fourth round, where she lost in three sets to Svetlana Kuznetsova.
By the end of September, Sharapova had already captured her first WTA title at a smaller event, the Japan Open Tennis Championships, before winning her second in her final tournament of the season, the Bell Challenge. To cap off her first full season as a professional, she was awarded the WTA Newcomer of the Year honor.
2004: Winning Wimbledon
Sharapova was defeated in the third round of the Australian Open by seventh seed Anastasia Myskina. The highlight of the remainder of her spring hard-court season was a run to the semifinals at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships and the Cellular South Cup, where she ultimately lost to eventual champion Vera Zvonareva.
During the spring clay-court season, Sharapova entered the top 20 on the WTA world rankings as a result of reaching the third round of the Qatar Telecom German Open and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, both of which were Tier I events. At the latter event, she defeated a player ranked in the top 10 for the first time with a straight-sets win over world no. 10 and 2004 French Open finalist Elena Dementieva. Later that clay-court season, she went on to make the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open, losing there to Paola Suárez.
Sharapova won the third title of her career at the Wimbledon warm-up DFS Classic, defeating Tatiana Golovin in the final. Seeded 13th and aged 17 at Wimbledon, she reached her first Grand Slam semifinal by defeating Ai Sugiyama. There, she defeated fifth seed and former champion Lindsay Davenport. In the final, Sharapova upset top seed and defending champion Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam singles title, and become the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon title, behind only Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis. Sharapova also became the second Russian woman (after Anastasia Myskina had won the year's previous major at Roland Garros) to win a Grand Slam singles title. The victory was hailed by the media as "the most stunning upset in memory", with other writers commenting on her arrival as a serious challenger to the Williams' dominance at Wimbledon. She entered the top 10 in the rankings for the first time as a result of the win.
Following her Wimbledon win, attention and interest in Sharapova in the media greatly increased, a rise in popularity dubbed as "Maria Mania." She won three of six matches in her preparations for the US Open. At the US Open itself, she reached the third round, before being eliminated by Mary Pierce. In order to regain confidence, Sharapova played and won consecutive titles in Asia in the fall, the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships and the Japan Open Tennis Championships.
In October, Sharapova defeated Venus Williams en route to making the final of a Tier I event for the first time at the Zurich Open, losing in the final to Alicia Molik. She then made her debut at the year-ending WTA Tour Championships. There, she won two of her three round-robin matches (including a win over US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova) in order to advance to the semifinals, where she defeated Myskina. In the final, she defeated Serena Williams, after trailing 4–0 in the final set.
2005: World no. 1
Sharapova started the year at the Australian Open, where she defeated fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the second Grand Slam semifinal of her career. Sharapova held match points in the third set of her semifinal match, before losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. In February, Sharapova won back-to-back tournaments, the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the Qatar Total Open, allowing her to reach the top 3 in the world rankings for the first time.
In the semifinals of the Tier I Pacific Life Open, Sharapova was defeated by Lindsay Davenport, the first time she had failed to win a game in a match. The following fortnight, she defeated former world no. 1 players Justine Henin and Venus Williams to reach the final at the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open, where she lost to Kim Clijsters.
Sharapova made the semifinals of a clay-court tournament for the first time at the Italian Open, where she lost to Patty Schnyder. Sharapova would have become world no. 1 for the first time had she won the tournament. Sharapova then reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the second consecutive year, before losing to eventual champion Henin. On grass, Sharapova won her third title of the year when she successfully defended her title at the DFS Classic, defeating Jelena Janković in the final. As the defending champion at Wimbledon, Sharapova reached the semifinals without dropping a set and losing a service game just once, extending her winning streak on grass to 24 matches. However, she was then beaten by eventual champion Venus Williams.
A back injury sustained by world no. 1 Davenport at Wimbledon prevented her from playing tournaments during the summer hard-court season, which meant she could not earn new ranking points to replace those that were expiring from the previous year. Sharapova, although also injured for much of this time, had far fewer points to defend, and so she became the first Russian woman to hold the world no. 1 ranking on August 22, 2005. Her reign lasted only one week, however, as Davenport reclaimed the top ranking after winning the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament.
As the top seed at the US Open, Sharapova lost in the semifinals to Kim Clijsters, meaning she had lost to the eventual champion in every Grand Slam of the season. However, she once again leapfrogged Davenport to take the world no. 1 ranking on September 12, 2005. She retained it for six weeks, but after playing few tournaments while injured, she again relinquished the ranking to Davenport. To conclude the year, Sharapova failed to defend her title at the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Los Angeles, defeating Davenport in one of her round-robin matches, but ultimately losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Amélie Mauresmo.
2006: US Open champion
Sharapova started 2006 by losing in the semifinals of the Australian Open in three sets to Henin, also losing a rematch several weeks later at the Dubai Tennis Championships, having defeated former world no. 1 Martina Hingis and world no. 3 Lindsay Davenport in earlier rounds of the tournament. Sharapova claimed her first title in nine months at the Tier I tournament in Indian Wells, defeating Hingis in the semifinals and Elena Dementieva in the final. The following fortnight, she reached the final in Miami before losing to Kuznetsova.
Missing the entire clay-court season with injury, Sharapova returned for the French Open. There, after saving match points in defeating Mashona Washington in the first round, she was eliminated by Dinara Safina in the fourth round.
On grass, Sharapova was unsuccessful in her attempt to win in Birmingham for the third consecutive year, losing in the semifinals to Jamea Jackson. Despite that, she was among the title favorites at Wimbledon, where the eventual champion Mauresmo ended up beating her in the semifinals.
Sharapova claimed her second title of the year at the Tier I Acura Classic, defeating Clijsters for the first time in the final. As the third seed at the US Open, Sharapova defeated top seed Mauresmo for the first time in the semifinals, and then followed up by beating second seed Justine Henin to win her second Grand Slam singles title.
That autumn, Sharapova won titles in back-to-back weeks at the Zurich Open and the Generali Ladies Linz. By winning all three of her round-robin matches at the WTA Tour Championships, she extended her win streak to 19 matches, before it was snapped in the semifinals by eventual champion Henin. Sharapova would have finished the season as world no. 1 had she won the event. As it was, she finished ranked world no. 2, her best year-end finish yet.
2007: Shoulder injury and fall out of the top 5
Sharapova was the top seed at the Australian Open due to top-ranked Justine Henin's withdrawal. After being two points away from defeat in the first round against Camille Pin, she went on to reach the final of the tournament for the first time, but was routed there by Serena Williams, ranked world no. 81 at the time. After reaching the final, Sharapova recaptured the world no. 1 ranking. She held it for seven weeks, surrendering it back to Henin after failing to defend her title at the Pacific Life Open, instead losing in the fourth round to Vera Zvonareva after struggling with a hamstring injury. The following fortnight, she defeated Venus Williams in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open, before suffering another defeat to Serena Williams.
A shoulder injury forced Sharapova to miss most of the clay-court season for the second consecutive year, resulting in her only tune-up for the French Open being the Istanbul Cup, where she lost in the semifinals to Aravane Rezaï. Despite her lack of preparation, she reached the semifinals of the French Open for the first time in her career (having saved match points against Patty Schnyder in the fourth round), before losing to Ana Ivanović.
On grass, Sharapova was runner-up to Jelena Janković at the DFS Classic. Following that, she experienced her earliest Wimbledon loss since 2003 by losing in the fourth round to eventual champion Venus Williams.
Sharapova clinched the US Open Series by defending her title at the Acura Classic, her only championship of the year, and reaching the semifinals in Los Angeles. In her US Open title defense, Sharapova was upset in her third-round match to 30th seed Agnieszka Radwańska, making it her earliest exit at a Grand Slam singles tournament since the 2004 US Open, where she lost in the same round.
Following the US Open loss, Sharapova did not play again until the Kremlin Cup in October, where she lost her opening match to Victoria Azarenka. Shortly after this, she fell out of the top 5 in the world rankings for the first time since 2004. She qualified for the eight-woman year-end Sony Ericsson Championships because of a withdrawal by Venus Williams before the start of the tournament. Despite having not previously won a match in two months, Sharapova topped her round-robin group at the tournament, after winning all three of her matches, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanović, and Daniela Hantuchová. She then defeated Anna Chakvetadze in the semifinals. In the final, she lost to world no. 1 Henin in a match that lasted 3 hours and 24 minutes. Sharapova reached the top five again to end the year.
2008: Australian Open champion and recurrence of shoulder injury
Sharapova was seeded fifth at the Australian Open, but was not considered a favorite. Nevertheless, she defeated former world no. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the second round, and then world no. 1 Henin in the quarterfinals, ending the latter's 32-match winning streak. She proceeded to the finals by defeating Jelena Janković in the semifinals, and defeated Ana Ivanović in the final to win her third Grand Slam title, having not dropped a set all tournament.
After the Australian Open, Sharapova extended her winning streak to 18 matches. This run encompassed two wins including at the Tier I Qatar Total Open. Her winning streak was ended in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open by Kuznetsova. In April, Sharapova won the Bausch & Lomb Championships, having survived her longest-ever match, at 3 hours and 26 minutes long, in the third round against Anabel Medina Garrigues. The following week, at the Family Circle Cup, she lost in the quarterfinals to Serena Williams, her fourth consecutive loss to the American.
In May, Sharapova regained the world no. 1 ranking because of Henin's sudden retirement from professional tennis and request to the WTA that her own ranking be removed immediately. As the top-seeded player at the French Open Sharapova was within two points of being knocked out by Evgeniya Rodina in the first round, before eventually winning. As a result of losing to eventual finalist Dinara Safina in the fourth round (after serving for the match), she relinquished her no. 1 ranking. Her dip in form continued at Wimbledon, where she lost in the second round to world no. 154 Alla Kudryavtseva. This was her earliest loss at Wimbledon, and at any Grand Slam in almost five years.
Sharapova withdrew from the Rogers Cup tournament in August following a shoulder injury. An MRI scan revealed that she had been suffering from a rotator cuff tear since April, forcing her out of all tournaments for the rest of the season, including the Beijing Olympics, the US Open, and the WTA Tour Championships. In spite of that, she still finished the year ranked world no. 9. In October, after a failed attempt to rehabilitate the shoulder, Sharapova had surgery to repair the tear.
2009: Shoulder surgery and rehabilitation
Sharapova did not attempt to defend her Australian Open title, as she continued to recover from surgery. She returned to the sport in March, in the doubles tournament at the BNP Paribas Open, but she and partner Elena Vesnina lost in the first round. After this, Sharapova withdrew from further singles tournaments, resulting in her standing in the world rankings being severely affected. She dropped out of the top 100 for the first time in six years in May, the nadir being world no. 126.
Playing her first singles tournament in nearly ten months, Sharapova made the quarterfinals of the clay-court Warsaw Open in May, losing to finalist Alona Bondarenko. The following week, in her first Grand Slam appearance since her surgery, she reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, before her run was ended by Dominika Cibulková.
During the summer grass-court season, Sharapova played in Birmingham, losing in the semifinals. Sharapova then played at Wimbledon as the 24th seed. She was upset in the second round by Gisela Dulko in three sets.
Sharapova enjoyed considerable success in the summer months, reaching the quarterfinals at the Bank of the West Classic, the semifinals at the LA Women's Tennis Championships, and finishing runner-up at the Rogers Cup to Elena Dementieva. At the 2009 US Open, Sharapova was seeded 29th. She found her way into the third round, defeating Tsvetana Pironkova and Christina McHale all in straight sets. She was stunned in the third round by American teenager Melanie Oudin. It was the second time in Sharapova's career that she lost to a teenager at a Grand Slam, having lost to Agnieszka Radwańska during the same event in 2007. The loss made Sharapova's ranking go down to no. 32.
The final stretch of the season brought Sharapova her first title of the year in Tokyo, after opponent Jelena Janković retired after being down 2–5 to Sharapova in the final. By virtue of that result, she was the recipient of a bye at the China Open, but failed to capitalize on it, losing to Peng Shuai in the third round. She ultimately finished the season at world no. 14, having improved from no. 126 when she started her comeback from injury.
2010: Struggles with form
After playing two exhibition tournaments in Asia, Sharapova officially began her season at the Australian Open, where she was upset in her first-round match against Maria Kirilenko. The loss meant that for the first time since 2003, Sharapova had lost her opening match at a Grand Slam event. She then rebounded by winning a smaller American event, the Cellular South Cup, her 21st career WTA title and first of the year.
At the BNP Paribas Open, Sharapova lost in the third round to Zheng Jie, aggravating a bruised bone on her right elbow in the process, which resulted in her eventual withdrawal from the Sony Ericsson Open and the Family Circle Cup.
Returning at the 2010 Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, Sharapova lost in the first round to Lucie Šafářová. She continued her French Open preparation at the Internationaux de Strasbourg as a wildcard, advancing to the final, where she beat Kristina Barrois. This was her first title on red clay and 22nd overall title. At the French Open, Sharapova's brief clay season culminated with a third-round loss to four-time champion Justine Henin.
Sharapova began her preparations for Wimbledon at the AEGON Classic. She advanced to the final for the fourth time, where she lost to Li Na. As the 16th seed at Wimbledon, Sharapova lost in the fourth round to world no. 1 and eventual champion Serena Williams, despite having three set points in the opening set. The match was seen as another encouraging performance for Sharapova, with some stating their belief that she was approaching the form that would see her contending for Grand Slams once more, and Sharapova herself stating that she felt that she was "in a much better spot than I was last year."
During the US Open Series, Sharapova made two straight finals, losing to Victoria Azarenka at the Bank of the West Classic, and to Kim Clijsters at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open. In the latter match, Sharapova held three match points while leading 5–3 on Clijsters's serve late in the second set, but could not convert them. At the U.S. Open, Sharapova was the 14th seed. She made it to the fourth round, where she played top seed and 2009 finalist Caroline Wozniacki and lost.
Sharapova's last two tournaments of the season ended in disappointment. She played in the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she was upset in the first round by 39-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm. Her last tournament of the year was the China Open, where she lost in the second round to fellow Russian Elena Vesnina. She ended the year at number 18 in the world.
2011: Return to top 10
It was announced that Sharapova would bring in Thomas Högstedt as a coach for the 2011 season, joining Michael Joyce. On December 5, Sharapova won an exhibition match against world no. 2 Vera Zvonareva in Monterrey, Mexico.
In Sharapova's first official Australian Open warm-up tournament at the 2011 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, she was seeded first. She lost to the Hungarian veteran and eventual champion Gréta Arn in the quarterfinals. After the ASB Classic, Sharapova decided to take a hiatus from Joyce's coaching, despite having worked together for a number of years, including during her successful years where she became a multiple Grand Slam champion.
Sharapova participated in the first Grand Slam of the season at the Australian Open, where she was the 14th seed, but lost to Andrea Petkovic in the fourth round. She also had to pull out of the 2011 Dubai Tennis Championships and 2011 Qatar Ladies Open because of an ear infection.
Sharapova returned to the tour in March by taking part in the 2011 BNP Paribas Open, where she was seeded 16th. She defeated former world no. 1 Dinara Safina, in the fourth round en route to the semifinal, where she lost to world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. At the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Sharapova upset fourth seed Samantha Stosur in the fourth round. She then defeated 26th seed Alexandra Dulgheru 3–6, 7–66, 7–65 in the quarterfinals in a match that lasted 3 hours and 28 minutes, the longest match of her career. In the semifinals, Sharapova took her Australian Open reprisal on Germany's Andrea Petkovic by defeating her. In the final, she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka, despite a late comeback in the second set. With this result, Sharapova returned to the top 10 for the first time since February 2009.
During the clay-court season, Sharapova participated in 2011 Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, where she lost to Dominika Cibulková in the third round, and the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where she was seeded seventh. She defeated top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals and sixth seed Samantha Stosur in the final to take home the title, marking her biggest clay-court victory to date.
At the 2011 French Open, Sharapova was seeded seventh. She defeated French wildcard Caroline Garcia in the second round, despite trailing 3–6, 1–4, before winning the last 11 games of the match. In the quarterfinals, she defeated 15th seed Andrea Petkovic, marking her first Grand Slam semifinal since her comeback from the career-threatening shoulder injury. She then lost to sixth seed and eventual champion Li Na, in the semifinals, ending her clay season with a win-loss record of 12–2.
At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Sharapova had not dropped a set entering the final, before losing to eighth seed Petra Kvitová in straight sets. This marked her first final in over three years at a Grand Slam event.
Sharapova started her summer hard-court season at the 2011 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. In a highly anticipated match, Sharapova lost to the eventual champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. In her next event at the 2011 Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada, Sharapova lost to Galina Voskoboeva in the third round, marking her 100th career loss.
Sharapova then contested the 2011 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. As the fourth seed, she received a bye into the second round. On the way to her fourth final of the year, she beat Anastasia Rodionova, 14th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, tenth seed Samantha Stosur, and 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva. In the final, she defeated fellow former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic, in 2 hours and 49 minutes, making it the longest WTA tour final of the year. She subsequently moved up to world no. 4, her highest ranking since August 2008 and the highest since her comeback from her shoulder injury.
Sharapova entered the US Open, where she was seeded third. She beat British Heather Watson, and Anastasiya Yakimova, to reach the third round. She was then upset by Flavia Pennetta. However, because of the fall of Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva in the rankings, Sharapova climbed to world no. 2.
Sharapova's next tournament was the 2011 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan. As second seed, she received a bye into the second round, where she beat Tamarine Tanasugarn. She then beat 13th seed Julia Goerges, before retiring against Petra Kvitová in the quarterfinal, 3–4, after slipping on the baseline, suffering an ankle injury. This also forced her to withdraw from the 2011 China Open the following week. Sharapova then flew to Istanbul to prepare for the 2011 WTA Tour Championships, her first time qualifying since 2007. During the WTA Tour Championships, Sharapova withdrew during the round-robin stage after defeats against Samantha Stosur and Li Na, as a result of the ankle injury she had suffered in Tokyo.
Sharapova ended the year as no. 4 in the world, her first top-10 finish since 2008 and first top-5 finish since 2007.
2012: Return to no. 1, Career Grand Slam and Olympic silver medal
Sharapova withdrew from the 2012 Brisbane International because of her ongoing ankle injury. Her first tournament of the season was the 2012 Australian Open, where she was seeded fourth. Sharapova advanced to the final round conceding five games, defeating Gisela Dulko, Jamie Hampton, and 30th seed Angelique Kerber, compatriot Ekaterina Makarova and world no. 2 Petra Kvitová. She lost to Victoria Azarenka in two sets. As a result her ranking improved to world no. 3. She then played in the Paris, where she lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Angelique Kerber. As a result her ranking improved to world no. 2.
At the Indian Wells, after battling for over three hours, Sharapova defeated compatriot Maria Kirilenko to set up a semifinal meeting with Ana Ivanovic. Sharapova advanced to the final after Ivanovic retired due to a hip injury. In the final, she played world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of the Australian Open final, but lost again in straight sets. Sharapova's next tournament was the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, where she was seeded 2nd and received a bye. In the final, Sharapova lost in straight sets to 5th seeded Agnieszka Radwańska. This was her third loss of the year in finals out of four tournaments played so far. In the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Sharapova was seeded second. She had a bye in the first round, and advanced to the third round after Alize Cornet retired in the second set. She won her first title of the year in Stuttgart after defeating world number one Victoria Azarenka. In doing so, Sharapova defeated three current Grand Slam title holders to win the tournament. Sharapova then played on the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open, a premier mandatory event. In the third round, Sharapova's opponent Lucie Safarova was unable to compete and withdrew from the tournament, earning Sharapova a walkover into the quarterfinals. She was then beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams in straight sets.
As the defending champion and second seed at the Italian Open, Sharapova had a bye in the first round. In the semifinals, Sharapova defeated Angelique Kerber to advance to the final for the second year in a row. In the final, Sharapova saved match point for a 2 hour 52 minute win over Li Na for her 26th career title. This marked the fourth time Sharapova had successfully defended a title.
Sharapova was seeded second at the French Open, where she defeated Alexandra Cadanțu, Petra Kvitová on her way to the finals, allowing her to regain the world no. 1 ranking. In the final, she defeated Sara Errani for her first French Open title. Sharapova became only the tenth woman to complete a Career Grand Slam with the French Open victory. During the tournament, Sharapova was also asked by the Russian Olympic Committee to carry the Russian flag in the Olympic Games.
Sharapova then extended her win streak to 15 matches when she competed in the Wimbledon Championships as the top seed there for the first time in her career. However, she was upset in the fourth round by 15th-seeded Sabine Lisicki, whom she beat in last year's semifinals. As a result, she lost her no. 1 ranking to Victoria Azarenka.
She played in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, her first Olympics. In the quarterfinals, Sharapova defeated fellow former no. 1 Kim Clijsters to advance to the semifinals, where she faced her compatriot, Maria Kirilenko. Sharapova defeated Kirilenko to reach the Olympic final, where she lost to Serena Williams, marking her worst defeat to the American. With this performance, Sharapova overtook Agnieszka Radwanska as world no. 2.
Sharapova was seeded third at the US Open, but had no hard-court tune-ups after the Olympics due to a stomach virus. In the fourth round, Petrova took it to a third set and was winning until a rain delay. After the delay, Sharapova came back to win. In the quarterfinals she faced Marion Bartoli, who was 4–0 up before a rain delay, which delayed the match a whole day. Sharapova then came back from a set down to win. In the semifinals Sharapova lost to world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
Sharapova's next tournament was the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. She made it to the quarterfinals, losing to Sam Stosur. At the China Open she was seeded second. In the finals she was again defeated by Azarenka. Sharapova's next tournament was the year-end championships in Istanbul, where she was seeded second. She defeated Sara Errani, Agnieszka Radwańska, and Sam Stosur in the round-robin matches. In the semifinals, Sharapova beat Azarenka, bringing their head-to-head meetings to 7–5 in Azarenka's favour. Although Sharapova made it to the final, Azarenka clinched the year-end no. 1 ranking with her two round-robin wins. Thus, Sharapova ended the year as world no. 2. She lost to Serena Williams in the final.
Maria's first scheduled tournament of the 2013 season was the Brisbane International, where she was seeded second. However, she withdrew from the tournament before it began, citing a collarbone injury. She started her season at the Australian Open seeded second. She began her campaign there successfully, defeating Olga Puchkova and Misaki Doi in the first two rounds without losing a game in either match, the first time a player has won in back-to-back double bagels at a Grand Slam tournament since the 1985 Australian Open. Sharapova then defeated Venus Williams, Kirsten Flipkens, and Ekaterina Makarova, where in losing only nine games she broke Monica Seles' record of fewest games dropped heading into a Grand Slam semifinal. She lost to Li Na in the semifinals. Maria failed to defend her final points from 2012 and dropped to World No.3 behind Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams
She reached the semifinals at the Qatar Total Open, losing to Serena Williams (3–6),(2–6) for the 10th straight time in her career. Her next tournament was Indian Wells where she was seeded second. She received a bye into the second round and successfully reached the final without dropping a single set where she faced 2011 Indian wells champion and former world number 1 Caroline wozniacki. After an hour and twenty-one minutes Sharapova won the tournament with a final score of (6–2),(6–2). This was Maria's 28th career title and second at Indian Wells. Her win also made her the number 2 player in the world behind Serena Williams.
Maria moved on to compete at the Sony Open. Once again she reached the final without dropping a set and faced world number 1 Serena Williams. Maria started the match strong winning the first set. However, Serena Williams won the second and dominated the third set. This was Maria's 11th consecutive loss against Serena Williams (6–4),(3–6),(0–6).
Fed Cup participation
Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of seven, but retains her Russian citizenship, and is therefore eligible to play in the Fed Cup for Russia. However, the behavior of Sharapova's father during her matches on the WTA Tour, combined with a perceived lack of commitment by her to the Fed Cup, has made her selection for the Russian Fed Cup team cause controversy in the past.
After Sharapova had beaten fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina at the 2004 WTA Tour Championships, Myskina criticized Sharapova's father, saying: "He was just yelling and screaming instructions to her and I thought he just might jump right on the court at one point in the match." At the Fed Cup semifinals two weeks later, Myskina stated she would stop playing for Russia if Sharapova joined the Russian team the following season: "If she joins our team next season you won't see me there for sure. His behaviour is totally incorrect, simply rude. I don't want to be around people like him." Larisa Neiland, assistant to Russia Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev, added: "Her father's behaviour (at the WTA Tour Championships) was simply outrageous. I just don't see how he could work with the rest of us." However Tarpishchev himself played down the problem, insisting: "I feel that things will calm down soon and we'll have Myskina, Sharapova, Kuznetsova and everyone else playing for Russia."
At the end of 2005, Sharapova stated she was now keen to make her Fed Cup debut and was set to play against Belgium in April 2006, but withdrew. She later withdrew from ties against Spain in April 2007 and against the United States in July 2007 because of injuries. The latter withdrawal led to Russia's captain saying she would be "ineligible for selection" for the Fed Cup final in September. However, Sharapova attended the final, cheering from the sidelines and acting as a "hitting partner" in practices, resulting in some of her Russian teammates implying that she was attending only to enable her to play at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (rules state that players must have "shown commitment" to Fed Cup in order to play). Svetlana Kuznetsova said, "She said she wanted to be our practice partner but if you can't play how then can you practice?"
Sharapova finally made her Fed Cup debut in February 2008, in Russia's quarterfinal tie against Israel. She won both her singles rubbers, against Tzipora Obziler and Shahar Pe'er, helping Russia to a 4–1 victory. For the semifinals, she was given permission to skip the tie, with Tarpishchev announcing that she will be on the team for the final. However, the date of the final coincided with the lay-off from her shoulder injury, and thus she did not play.
In the 2011 first-round tie, Sharapova played Virginie Razzano of France and lost. Sharapova was supposed to play Alizé Cornet but she was suffering from a viral illness. Teammate Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova played and defeated Cornet to secure the 3–2 win for Russia against France. Sharapova continued to participate in 2012 and helped Russia to a 3–2 win against Spain in the first-round tie. Sharapova defeated Silvia Soler Espinosa in the first rubber, but was unable to play her second rubber due to illness.
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 who uses the reverse forehand a lot. Instead of using a traditional volley or overhead smash, she often 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.
Early in her career Sharapova's first and second serves were regarded as powerful, and she was believed to possess one of the best deliveries on the Tour. Since the beginning of 2007, however, problems with her shoulder have reduced the effectiveness of her serve. The shoulder injury not only resulted in her inconsistent first serves, but also her hitting high numbers of double faults. Two-time US Open singles champion Tracy Austin believes that Sharapova often loses confidence in the rest of her game when she experiences problems with her serve and consequently produces more unforced errors and generally plays more tentatively, while tennis writer Joel Drucker remarked that her serve was the "catalyst for her entire game", and that her struggles with it left her "unmasked."
In her return from layoff in 2008 to 2009, she used an abbreviated motion, which was somewhat less powerful, and though producing aces also gave a very high number of double faults. After her early loss at the 2009 US Open, Sharapova returned to a more elongated motion, similar to her pre-surgery serve. She has since been able to produce speeds greater than before, including a 121 mph serve hit at the Birmingham tournament in 2010 – the fastest serve of her career.
However since her shoulder operation Sharapova has been unable to control her serve. This has led to numerous faults, as she can't feel how much power she is generating. The new action led to an elbow injury, but under Thomas Högstedt it has improved but can still be erratic. This improvement in serving can be seen in the 2013 Australian Open and following tournaments where Maria Sharapova committed little double faults as compared to previous years.
Because she predicates her game on power, Sharapova's preferred surfaces are the fast-playing hard and grass courts, as evident through her 25 victories on hard court and grass court. This is most notable when she won the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open crowns, where she had her career breakthrough and played her peak tennis level, respectively.
Sharapova, however, is not as well-suited to the slower clay courts as she is on hard and grass courts. Sharapova has admitted that she is not as comfortable with her movement on clay compared with other court surfaces and once described herself as like a "cow on ice" after a match on clay, due to her inability to slide. Despite this, she has shown improvement on this surface with respect to experience, as evident with her first WTA red clay title at the 2010 Internationaux de Strasbourg, 7 years since playing on the WTA circuit. Less than a year later, she won her biggest red clay title at the Tier I 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Sharapova is still showing rapid improvement on clay courts as evident by winning the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and then a month later successfully defending her 2011 title in Rome, by winning the 2012 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, and then winning the 2012 French Open, her best clay court season to date with a win/loss record of 19–1, with a total loss of four sets the entire clay court season.
Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of seven. Besides a home in Bradenton, Florida, she also has residences 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. Recently, she is dating the Bulgarian rising tennis star Grigor Dimitrov. From 2005–2011, 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."
At the 2004 US Open, Sharapova, along with several other Russian female tennis players, wore a black ribbon in observance of the tragedy after the Beslan school hostage crisis, which took place only days before. In 2005, she donated around US$50,000 to those affected by the crisis. On February 14, 2007, Sharapova was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donated US$210,000 to UNDP Chernobyl-recovery projects. She stated at the time that she was planning to travel back to the area after Wimbledon in 2008, though it didn't happen, as she had to travel back to the US because of shoulder injury. She fulfilled the trip in late June – early July 2010. Sharapova has helped to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In addition, with Angela Haynes, Maria Kirilenko, Nicole Vaidišová, Rennae Stubbs, Governor Jeb Bush and Jennifer Capriati, Sharapova participated in an exhibition in Tampa in December 2004, raising money for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund. In July 2008, Sharapova sent a message on DVD to the memorial service of cancer victim Emily Bailes, who had performed the coin toss ahead of the 2004 Wimbledon final that Sharapova had gone on to win.
Sharapova's tennis success and appearance have enabled her to secure commercial endorsements that greatly exceed the value of her tournament winnings. In March 2006, Forbes magazine listed her as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with annual earnings of over US $18 million, the majority of which was from endorsements and sponsorships. She has topped that list every year since, even after her 2007 shoulder injury. In 2011, Forbes listed Sharapova as No. 29 in their list of 50 top-paid athletes, the only woman on the list. In 2012, she was listed as No. 15, and was joined in the top 20 by Li Na at No. 16 and Serena Williams at No. 17. In April 2005, People named her one of the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In 2006, Maxim ranked Sharapova the hottest athlete in the world for the fourth consecutive year. She posed in a six-page bikini photoshoot spread in the 2006 Valentine's Day issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, alongside 25 supermodels. In a poll run by Britain's FHM magazine, she was voted the seventh most eligible bachelorette, based on both "wealth and looks."
Immediately after her win at the 2004 Wimbledon Championship, mobile phone company Motorola signed Sharapova to endorse their mobile phone line. Additionally, she appeared in commercials for Land Rover and Canon, as well as approved of namesake items by watch brand Tag Heuer and jeweller Tiffany. Tiffany also provides Sharapova with earrings from the "Tiffany for Maria Sharapova" collection at the four major events, that are also retailed globally. She also starred in an award winning campaign for the sports clothing brand Nike, "Pretty", in the summer of 2006. She signed a sponsorship deal in January 2007 with Gatorade and Tropicana. In 2007, Sharapova was featured in a number of Canon USA's commercials for the PowerShot. Sharapova has also been depicted in many tennis-related video games. Some of the titles include the Top Spin series, Virtua Tennis series, and Grand Slam Tennis series. During the layoff due to her shoulder surgery, sensing the fleeting nature of a professional athlete's career, Sharapova decided to focus on developing her name as a brand, beginning with meeting with her sponsors more extensively to further her brand. In January 2010, it was announced that Sharapova had renewed her contract with Nike, signing an 8 year deal for $70 million. This is the most lucrative deal ever for a sportswoman, dwarfing the previous record, which was Venus Williams' $43 million deal with Reebok.
Following in the footsteps of tennis players who started clothing lines such as Fred Perry and René Lacoste, Sharapova launched her own tennis apparel line, the "Nike Maria Sharapova Collection", in 2010. The collection includes dresses that she designed for all the major tournaments, in collaboration with Nike and Cole Haan. She had previously found that the outfits given to her by Nike did not suit her frame and were worn by too many other players. She comes up with design ideas and sketches in a process that begins 18 months before the event and receives royalties from the sale of the collection, of which the corresponding dresses are coordinated to be available simultaneously with the corresponding major tournament. The collection is worn by other WTA players, including Sofia Arvidsson, Kai-Chen Chang, Andrea Hlavackova, Madison Keys, Anastasia Pivovarova as well as junior players such as Indy De Vroome. Sharapova had earlier collaborated with Nike on the "little black dress" that she wore for her night matches at the 2006 US Open. The dress featured a round crystal studded collar and was inspired by Audrey Hepburn. The dress was well publicized and received but was not mass-produced. Additionally, she designs shoes and handbags for Cole Haan, for which her signature ballerina flats are one of the biggest sellers of the entire brand.
Sharapova used the Prince Triple Threat Hornet for part of 2003 and then used several different Prince racquets until the US Open. She gave the racquet she used in the 2004 Wimbledon final to Regis Philbin when taping Live with Regis and Kelly. Sharapova began using the Prince Shark OS at that tournament specially designed for her. She then switched to the Prince O3 White racquet in January 2006. She switched to the Prince O3 Speedport Black in July 2008. After being with Prince for ten years, Sharapova began endorsing Head racquets in 2011 and uses the Head YOUTEK IG Instinct.
Grand Slam tournaments
|Australian Open||1R||3R||SF||SF||F||W||A||1R||4R||F||SF||1 / 10||39–9||81%|
|French Open||1R||QF||QF||4R||SF||4R||QF||3R||SF||W||1 / 10||37–9||80%|
|Wimbledon||4R||W||SF||SF||4R||2R||2R||4R||F||4R||1 / 10||37–9||80%|
|US Open||2R||3R||SF||W||3R||A||3R||4R||3R||SF||1 / 9||29–8||78%|
|Win–Loss||4–4||15–3||19–4||20–3||16–4||11–2||7–3||8–4||16–4||21–3||5–1||4 / 39||142–35||80%|
Finals: 7 (4 titles, 3 runners-up)
|Winner||2004||Wimbledon||Grass||Serena Williams||6–1, 6–4|
|Winner||2006||US Open||Hard||Justine Henin||6–4, 6–4|
|Runner-up||2007||Australian Open||Hard||Serena Williams||1–6, 2–6|
|Winner||2008||Australian Open||Hard||Ana Ivanović||7–5, 6–3|
|Runner-up||2011||Wimbledon||Grass||Petra Kvitová||3–6, 4–6|
|Runner-up||2012||Australian Open (2)||Hard||Victoria Azarenka||3–6, 0–6|
|Winner||2012||French Open||Clay||Sara Errani||6–3, 6–2|
|WTA Tour Championships||NQ||NQ||NQ||W||SF||SF||F||A||NQ||NQ||RR||F||1 / 6||17–8||68.0|
Finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runners-up)
|Winner||2004||Los Angeles||Hard (i)||Serena Williams||4–6, 6–2, 6–4|
|Runner-up||2007||Madrid||Hard (i)||Justine Henin||7–5, 5–7, 3–6|
|Runner-up||2012||Istanbul||Hard (i)||Serena Williams||4–6, 3–6|
(i) = Indoor
- Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Newcomer of the Year
- Whirlpool 6th Sense Player of the Year
- ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
- WTA Fan Favorite Singles Player
- WTA Humanitarian Of The Year
- WTA Most Fashionable Player (On Court)
- WTA Most Fashionable Player (Off Court)
- WTA Most Dramatic Expression
- ESPY Best Female Tennis Player
- Medal of the Order For Merit to the Fatherland 2nd Class (April 28, 2012) – for her philanthropic activity
- Medal of the Order For Merit to the Fatherland 1st Class (August 13, 2012) – for her outstanding contribution to the development of physical cultures and sports at the XXX Olympic Games in 2012 in London (Great Britain)
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