"Maria Sharapova was also the second youngest ladies Wimbledon singles champion in the open era and third youngest all-time grand slam winner at only 17 years and two months. It was a great year for Maria which she finished #4 in the world and topped the 2004 prize money list with $2,506,263 in earnings from tournament wins."
Maria Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987 to dad Yuri Sharapova and mom Yelena Sharapova in Nyagan, Russia - a Siberian region, to which they fled from Gomel, Belarus a year earlier. Maria Sharapova first started playing tennis at age four and at age six Maria played an exhibition match in Moscow with Martina Navratilova who saw tremendous potential in her and recommended that she should come to the United States to train and develop her game. Yuri decided to follow up with the advice given by Martina Navratilova later on and they made the move to Bradenton, Florida to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy when Maria was just nine years old. Maria's parents made a lot of sacrifices but they were determined to help Maria be the best that she could be. Maria's enormous potential was noticeable.
A sports company (IMG) had sponsored Maria Sharapova and took care of the costs of her training at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Yuri Sharapova worked all kinds of jobs and he helped out as much as possible. Maria lived in a dorm where she shared a room with three older girls. Maria Sharapova was pretty shy and quiet, she was home sick and missing her mother who was back in Russia. Maria learned English quickly. A couple of years later Maria's mom was able to get a visa and reunite with her husband and daughter. Yelena Sharapova made it a priority to work with Maria and educate her well, up to this point she had never attended a formal school.
|Sharapova turned pro by the end of 2001. The following year she played
mostly ITF/Challenger events and finished the year with a solid 28-5 singles
record and a #186 WTA Tour ranking. 2003 was Maria's first good season where
she went all the way up to #32 in the world and put together a record of
38-13 with 2 tournament wins towards the end of the season in Japan and Canada.
In 2004 Maria won her first grand slam, Wimbledon and by the end of the year
she put together a great streak to take home the WTA Tour season ending
championships as well as three other tournament titles. Maria Sharapova became
the first Russian female to win the season ending championships and became
only the second debudante to win the title. Maria was also the second youngest
ladies Wimbledon singles champion in the open era and third youngest all-time
grand slam winner at only 17 years and two months. It was a great year for
Maria which she finished #4 in the world and topped the 2004 prize money
list with $2,506,263 in earnings from tournament wins. She is the heir apparent
to Anna Kournikova. The only difference is this tall blonde can play as well
as anyone in the world.
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