When Maria Sharapova was merely 13 years old, she won the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships in the girls’ 16 division and was then awarded the ‘Rising Star’ award.
She began her professional Tennis career in 2001 and made her first WTA debut at the Pacific Life Open in 2002.
Since she was young, there were restrictions on how many professional events she could play. Therefore, she decided to concentrate on junior tournaments. In 2002, she reached the finals of the girls' singles events at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
In 2003, Maria Sharapova made her debut at the Australian Open and French Open, but lost in the first round at both the tournaments. She won her maiden WTA title at the Japan Open Tennis Championship. She was awarded the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2003.
Maria Sharapova’s won her first Grand Slam singles title at the Wimbledon in 2004, at the age of 17, after defeating defending champion Serena Williams. She thus became the second Russian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title. As a result of her win, she entered the top 10 in the rankings for the first time.
In 2005, Sharapova reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the French Open. She also reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon before losing to the eventual champion Venus Williams.
On August 22, 2005, she became the first Russian woman to hold the world No. 1 ranking. But her reign at the top was short lived and within a week she lost her No. 1 ranking to Lindsay Davenport.
In 2006, Maria Sharapova reached the semifinals of Australian Open, lost in fourth round of French Open and was defeated in the semifinals of the Wimbledon by the eventual champion Amelie Mauresmo. She won the second Grand Slam singles title of her career when she defeated Justine Henin to win the U.S. Open.
In 2007, she reached the finals of the Australian Open, reached the semifinals of the French Open, lost in the fourth round of the Wimbledon and made a exit in the third round of the U.S. Open. Sharapova was also troubled by the injuries during the year and her ranking fell below top 5.
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In 2008, she won the third Grand Slam title of her career when she defeated Ana Ivanovic in the finals of the Australian Open. In May 2008, she once again became the No. 1 player but thereafter she experienced a sharp dip in her form; she reached the fourth round of the French Open and lost in the second round of the Wimbledon. Due to a shoulder injury she didn't play in the later part of the year and underwent a corrective surgery.
Shoulder injury, treatment and rehabilitation kept her away from the sport for many months that followed and though Maria Sharapova did make comebacks in between, until 2011 there were no major wins for the player.
In 2012, Sharapova won her first French Open title and became only the tenth woman to complete a Career Grand Slam. In the process, she also regained the world No. 1 ranking. She won a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
In 2013, Sharapova was once again troubled by the shoulder injury, which affected her performance. She reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, reached the finals of the French Open, lost in the second round of the Wimbledon and withdrew from the U.S. Open due to a shoulder injury.
In 2014, Maria Sharapova won the second French Open title of her career by defeating Simona Halep. She also won the Stuttgart Open, Madrid Open, and China Open that year. Her ranking rose from No. 4 to No. 2 at the end of the year. In 2015, she reached the finals of the Australian Open, won the Italian Open, and lost in the semifinals of the Wimbledon. She did not play in the U.S. Open due to injury.
Maria Sharapova has been the brand ambassador of many leading brands such as Motorola, Tiffany, Land Rover, Canon, Tropicana, Gatorade, Nike, Porsche, Tag Heuer etc.
Awards & Achievements:
She has to her credit 5 Grand Slam Titles – One at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open and two at French Open along with 35 singles titles.
Maria Sharapova was appointed the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the UNDP specifically for the Chernobyl recovery projects in 2007.
As on 2015, Maria Sharapova is ranked No.3 by the Women’s Tennis Association.
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Maria Sharapova was the first torch bearer in the lighting ceremony of Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014.
Personal Life & Legacy:
Maria Sharapova had dated singer Adam Levine in 2005 but the couple split after a short while.
In 2008, she had a short lived relationship with TV producer Charlie Ebersol.
In 2009, she began dating Slovenian basketball player Sasha Vujacic and the couple had announced their engagement in 2010. However, Maria Sharapova announced the end of the relationship in 2012.
In 2007, Maria Sharapova became the goodwill ambassador of the UNDP. The Maria Sharapova Foundation in collaboration with the UN is working towards helping children around the world achieve their dreams.