Maria Sharapova Profile
Name: Maria Sharapova
Birth Name: Maria Yuryevna Sharapova
Height: 6' 2''
Birth Date: April 19, 1987
Birth Place: Nyagan, Russia
Profession: Model, Tennis Player
Education: Keystone High School (home schooling program via correspondence on
Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy, in Brandenton, Florida, USA
Claim to fame: Third youngest Wimbledon women's champion in 2004, defeated two-time
defending champion Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4
Maria Sharapova Biography
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (born April 19, 1987) is a former World No. 1 Russian professional tennis player. As of August 18, 2008, she is ranked World No. 6 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
Sharapova has won three Grand Slam singles titles. In 2004, at the age of 17, she won Wimbledon, defeating Serena Williams in the final. She has since won the 2006 US Open, defeating Justine Henin in the final, and the 2008 Australian Open, defeating Ana Ivanovic in the final.
As of July 2008, she is the world's highest-paid female athlete. She is currently coached by her father, Yuri Sharapov, and former player Michael Joyce.
Sharapova is a power baseliner, with power, depth, and angles on her groundstrokes. Instead of using a traditional volley or overhead smash, she often prefers to hit a powerful "swinging" volley when approaching the net or attacking lobs. Sharapova is thought to have good speed around the court, especially considering her height. At the beginning of the 2008 season, some observers noted that Sharapova had developed her game, showing improved movement and footwork and the addition of a drop shot and sliced backhand to her repertoire of shots.
Sharapova's preferred surfaces are the fast-playing hard and grass because her game is not as well-suited to the slower-playing clay. She lacks confidence in her ability to move and slide on this surface and once described herself as like a "cow on ice" after a match on clay. Her limitations on this surface are reflected in her career results, as she did not win a WTA tour title on clay until April 2008 (despite having won 18 titles on other surfaces) and because the French Open is the only Grand Slam singles title she has not yet won.
Sharapova's first and second serve are powerful. She is often able to produce an ace or a service winner; otherwise, a powerful serve often results in a weak reply from her opponent, which allows her to take control of the rally immediately. A serious shoulder injury in early 2007, however, reduced the effectiveness of her serve for several months, as she routinely produced eight to ten double faults in many of her matches during this period. She later changed her service motion to a more compacted backswing (as opposed to her traditional elongated backswing) in an attempt to put less stress on her shoulder, but she nevertheless periodically experienced problems with her serve throughout the rest of the year, most notably producing 12 double faults in her third-round loss at the US Open. Her serve appeared to be more effective at the 2008 Australian Open, as she produced just 17 double faults in seven matches while winning the tournament. Her serving problems resurfaced, however, during the spring of 2008, as she produced 43 double faults in just four matches at the French Open and eight double faults during her second round loss at Wimbledon. Observers, including Tracy Austin, believe that when Sharapova experiences problems with her serve, she often loses confidence in the rest of her game, and as a result, produces more unforced errors and generally plays more tentatively.
Sharapova is known for on-court "grunting," reaching 101 decibels (near the volume of a police siren) during a match at Wimbledon in 2005.