Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова; IPA: [mɐˈrʲijə ˈjʉrʲjɪvnə ʂɐˈrapəvə] ( listen); born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player. A United States resident since 1994Sharapova has competed on the WTA tour since 2001. She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the WTA on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks. She is one of ten women, and the only Russian, to hold the career Grand Slam. She is also an Olympic medalist, having earned silver for Russia in women’s singles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Sharapova became the world No. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, at the age of 18, and last held the ranking for the fifth time for four weeks from June 11, 2012, to July 8, 2012. Her 35 singles titles and five Grand Slam titles two at the French Open and one each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open rank third among active players, behind Serena and Venus Williams. She won the year-ending WTA Finals in her debut in 2004. She has also won three doubles titles.
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 14th 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 girls’ singles events at 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.
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.”
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