Present Olympics Athletes >> Maria Sharapova

Tennis

Maria Sharapova

Date of birth

1987-04-19

Birthplace

Nyagan (USSR)

Height

188 cm

Weight

59.0 kg

Professional debut

April 2001

Grand Slam titles

3 (up to 26/01/2008)

Victories in tournaments

19 (singles), 3 (doubles) - up to 13/04/2008

Best year-end WTA world ranking

2nd (2006)

Grand Slam tournaments

  • 1 Australian Open (2008), 1 final (2007), 2 semi-finals (2005, 2006)
  • Roland Garros : 1 semi-final (2007)
  • 1 Wimbledon title (2004), 2 semi-finals (2005, 2006)
  • 1 US Open (2006), 1 semi-final (2005)

Other victory

  • 1 Masters title (2004), 1 final (2007), 2 semi-finals (2005, 2006)

Red hot Maria

Leaving behind the frozen winters of Siberia, for the Florida tennis academies aged only seven, Maria Sharapova took just a decade to scale the giddy heights of Grand Slam success at Wimbledon, a landmark win that has paved the way to making her the world's richest sportswoman.

The 6/1, 6/4 victory over the then mighty Serena Williams at the All England club in 2004 put her on the tennis map forever while the combination of her stunning good looks and subsequent Flushing Meadows and Australian Open titles ensure she earns around 30 million dollars a year from her collection of blue chip sponsors.

These sponsors desperately need to see their investment reap maximum rewards when the world's biggest sports event dominates for three weeks in China in August and made her Fed Cup debut in February 2008 in order to make the Russian Olympic cut.

Her giant 6ft 2in frame aids her precise, powerful baseline double-backhands, which is her trademark, and an enormous will power will often give her the upper hand in a tight corner.

She won five titles in 2004, a year she turned 17, and was the WTA's tope prize winner for the season. In 2005 she reached the semis at Melbourne, Wimbledon and New York but she still struggles on the clay of Paris and the French Open where she is less at ease.

Olympic dream

The following season, 2006 Sharapova romped to victory at the US Open, getting revenge on Amelie Mauresmo for a Wimbledon semi defeat with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 win in the New York semi and then beating Belgium's Justine Henin in the final.

A shoulder injury blighted 2007 season featured a run to the Australian Open final and a heavy defeat in the sweltering heat to Serena Williams.

Now her shoulder injury has been cleared up the Russian phenomenon is on the form of her life and promising to scale new heights for 2008, which opened with an Australian Open title.

The 20-year-old, who did not drop a set at the season-opening Grand Slam and beat three of the top four players in the world on her way to the title beating Ana Ivanovic in 7/5, 6/3 in the final.

Sharapova says she would prefer an Olympic title in 2008 to a Wimbledon one and has fond childhood Olympic memories.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.



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