Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a former World No. 1 Russian professional tennis player. In a career marred by serious injury, Sharapova has won 22 WTA singles titles, 3 WTA doubles titles and 3 Grand Slam singles titles, consisting of the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open. She was also runner-up at the 2007 Australian Open. She has also won the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in 2004. Since her shoulder injury in 2008, she has not recovered her championship form.
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In the highly competitive sport of professional tennis, Maria Sharapova's journey to become one of the top players in the world symbolizes her determination, grit and champion's desire to win. Her story is one of sacrifice, focus and extraordinary talent.
An only child, Maria was born on April 19, 1987, in the Russian industrial town of Nyagan in western Siberia. Her parents had relocated from Gomel, Russia, to escape the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In 1989, the Sharapovas moved again to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi; it was here that Maria developed a love of tennis.
Sharapova was born in 1987 to Yuri and Yelena, ethnic Belarusians, in the town of Nyagan' in Siberia, Russia. Her parents moved from Gomel, Belarus after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 affected the region. When Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi where her father befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and became Russia's first ever World No. 1 tennis player. Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racket at the age of four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father in a local park. She took her first tennis lessons with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin, who was instantly impressed when he first saw her, noting her "exceptional hand-eye co-ordination."