- 11:40 AM, Feb 20
Despite her young age, Maria Sharapova has reached such a superb accomplishment in her profession as a tennis player. Throughout her career, she has collected a series of titles: one in Grand Slam, WTA Championships, Tier I Event, and seven in WTA Tour Tournaments. Furthermore, she also has received 4 WTA Awards that were WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2003, WTA Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, and Player Service which were all honored in 2004. Compared to Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova, she is indeed the mixture of incredible skills and unusual beauty that brought a kind of phenomenon in sports world, especially tennis. With her excellent technique and talent, she undoubtedly has the potentiality to become the best tennis player in the world.
Born with the name of Maria Yuryevna Sharapova, she is the only child of Youri Sharapov and Yelena Sharapova. Her parents previously had lived in Gomel, Belarus, but left the city in 1986 to avoid the repercussion of Chernobyl nuclear incident. The couple then moved to a town in western Siberia called Nyagan where Yelena delivered their daughter on April 19, 1987. Feeling that it was still close to the location of disaster, the family took along little Maria to seek a safer place in 1989. They later settled in Sochi which has been known as a resort city as well as the home of famous Russian tennis player, Yevgeny Kafelnikov. It was not until she turned to four that she was introduced to tennis through an old racquet given by Kafelnikov's father who happened to be Youri's friend. As her enthusiasm for tennis flourished, she studiously practiced this challenging sport by hitting the ball against the side of her house.
In 1993, Maria was attending a tennis exhibition tournament in Moscow when Martina Navratilova noticed her potentiality. The tennis legend afterwards suggested Youri to put her under the training of Nick Bollettieri at his prestigious academy in Bradenton, Florida, U.S., since she believed that it would be the best place for the little girl to develop her skills. After some consideration, Youri finally decided to follow Navratilova's advice, therefore taking Maria to U.S. even though he basically could not speak English nor brought enough money to support their live there. Upon their arrival in the academy, one of its coaches agreed to check her out. She successfully impressed the