Full Name: Maria Yuryevna Sharapova
Date of Birth: April 19th, 1987
Place of Birth: Nyagan, Russia
Height: 6ft 2in
Turned Professional: 2001
Photo of Maria Sharapova by Carine06
Maria Sharapova has been ranked world number one on five separate occasions since 2005 and is currently 3rd at the start of 2013. She has won all four Grand Slam titles; Wimbledon (2004), US Open (2006), Australian Open (2008) and French Open (2012). Sharapova has also been in three other Grand Slam finals and has won 27 WTA singles titles.
Sharapova made her professional debut in 2001 and reached the finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon Junior titles in 2002. She won three junior singles tournaments with an impressive 47–9 record in junior events. 2003 marked her first full season on the tour and she had arrived in the top fifty by the end of the year. She got to the fourth round at Wimbledon and secured her first WTA title at the Japan Open Tennis Championships. She ended the year with another victory at the Bell Challenge.
Sharapova continued her progress in 2004, breaking into the top 20 after reaching the third round of the Qatar Telecom German Open and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. She reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open, losing to Paola Suárez. Sharapova won the third title of her career at the DFS Classic and reached the final of Wimbledon at just 17 years of age. She defeated former champion Lindsay Davenport in the semi-final before upsetting the top seed and defending champion Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam singles title.
She could not get beyond the third round at the US Open, losing to Mary Pierce but won consecutive tournaments in Asia and got to the final of the Zurich Open. She rounded off a stunning debut season at the WTA Tour Championships, again defeating Serena Williams in the final after fighting back from 0-4 in the third set. Sharapova was beaten in the semi-final of the Australian Open by Williams despite holding match points in the deciding set. Sharapova won the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the Qatar Total Open to move into the top 3 in the world for the first time. She later reached the quarter-finals of the French Open before losing to Justine Henin. Sharapova successfully defended her DFA Classic title and reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon before losing to Venus Williams.
At the US Open, Sharapova lost in the semi-finals to Kim Clijsters and was word number one, exchanging the honour with Lindsay Davenport throughout the season. 2006 began with a semi-finals defeat to Henin in Australia before claiming her first title of the year at Indian Wells. She missed the clay-court season through injury but got to the semi-finals again at Wimbledon, this time losing to Amelie Mauresmo. She returned to winning ways in the Acura Classic and gained her revenge on Mauresmo in the semi-finals of the US Open. She claimed her second Grand Slam by beating Justine Henin in the final 6-4, 6-4.
Sharapova won consecutive titles at the Zurich Open and the Generali Ladies Linz but her winning streak came to an end when beaten by Henin in the semi-finals of the WTA Tour Championships. She ended the year ranked number 2 in the world. Sharapova made it to the final of the Australian Open for the first time but was well beaten by Serena Williams. Despite a rushed preparation after injury, she reached the semi-finals of the French Open for the first time in her career before losing to Ana Ivanović. Early exits at Wimbledon and in the US Open led to her dropping out of the top 5 briefly before getting to the final of the Sony Ericsson Championships, losing a marathon match to Henin.
Sharapova was seeded fifth at the Australian Open in 2008 but defeated Davenport and Henin on an impressive run to the final. She beat Ana Ivanović 7-5, 6-3 for her third Grand Slam title and had not dropped a single set during the tournament. She then won the Qatar Total Open and the Bausch & Lomb Championships and regained the number 1 spot when Henin announced her retirement in May.
Disappointing efforts in the French Open and at Wimbledon were followed by a serious shoulder injury, forcing her to cut short her season for surgery.
Sharapova made the quarter-finals of the French Open in 2009 but did not threaten in the other Grand Slam events. Sharapova played consistently through the summer and finally gained her first title of the year in Tokyo when Jelena Janković was forced to retire. In 2010, a shock first round exit in Australia was followed by victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. A promising run at Wimbledon was ended by Serena Williams in the fourth round and Sharapova ended the year at number 18 in the world.
A fourth round loss in Australia in 2011 and a spell of illness meant a difficult start to Sharapova’s season before reaching the final of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. She was defeated by Victoria Azarenka but had done enough to return to the top 10 for the first time since February 2009.
She recorded her first victory of 2011 at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, beating Samantha Stosur in the final. At the French Open, she was beaten by Li Na in the semi-finals. She then got to the final at Wimbledon without dropping a set but lost to Petra Kvitová 3-6, 4-6. She won the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio but an ankle injury cut short her season, although she had done enough to climb to number 4 in the rankings, he best for over 3 years.
Her recovery from injury meant that she started her season in the Australian Open and she did remarkably well to reach the final. She defeated Petra Kvitová in the semi-final to reach her third Australian Open final but was beaten 3-6, 0-6 by Azarenka. She was beaten by the same opponent at Indian Wells and reached a third final of the year at the Sony Ericsson Open, this time losing to Agnieszka Radwanska. She gained an overdue first title of the year in Stuttgart after finally getting the better of Azarenka. A victory in the Italian Open gave Sharapova her 26th career title. She then won the French Open by defeating Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to complete a career Grand Slam. A fourth round defeat at Wimbledon cost her the number 1 spot in the rankings and she had to settle for a silver medal at the London Olympics after losing in the final to Serena Williams. Sharapova enjoyed another successful run in the US Open, eventually losing a thrilling encounter with Azarenka in the semi-finals. The Russian’s season ended with defeat in the final of the year-end championships in Istanbul, losing to Serena Williams and finishing the year as number 2 in the world.
A collarbone injury meant that she had to start her 2013 season in the Australian Open again. She started the tournament in fearsome form, recording two double bagel victories and then knocking out Venus Williams. She lost to Li Na in the semi-finals and dropped to third behind Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams.