Maria Sharapova 300x225 photoIt seems as if Maria Sharapova has been trading blows with the best on the WTA circuit for a long time now. However, she is still young, yet more mature and many will argue that over the course of 2012, she took massive strides to reproducing her best ever form. She was an early starter, already showing her stuff in professional tournaments, and despite a dip in form during the middle of her career, her inherent tenacity has seen her rise again. Known as one of the best and most gritty defenders on the WTA, Maria Sharapova, a winner of all Grand Slams, has once again become the darling of tennis courts around the world. She is a famous philanthropists, running her own foundation to give to charity.

 

Personal

Maria Sharapova’s parents are actually both Belarusian, but moved to Russia before she was born in 1987. A racquet was first put into the hands of Maria when she was just four years old and that initiated regular practice for her. After having her talent spotted early, she was in a tennis clinic ran by Martina Navratilova by the age of six. In 1994 she went to the US with her father, who took low paying jobs to help fund Maria’s practice. Her break came when she was granted a deal by IMG to pay her tuition and at the age of nine at the academy, Maria was taking massive steps towards becoming one of the most recognisable faces in the world .

WTA and Grand Slam History

Sharapova actually played her first ever professional tournament on her fourteenth birthday and won her first ever pro match. But there was still much work to do on the junior circuit, eventually rounding out with a tremendous 47-9 match record in the juniors. The jump up to full professional level was very quick and natural for Sharapova. By the end of 2003, she was already inside the world’s top fifty and gaining valuable experience in the Grand Slam arenas. It was also during 2003 that she won her first ever WTA title, the Japan Open Tennis Championships. This was all in her first full year on the Tour.

 

The rise was meteoric from then as 2004 saw her get her hands on her first ever Grand Slam title. That came in England at Wimbledon, upsetting favourite Serena Williams on Centre Court, the result being called “the most stunning upset in memory.” The win propelled her into the top ten in the world rankings for the first time ever. Sharapova was unable to add to her maiden Grand Slam, despite reaching three semi finals in 2005. She finally delivered a second Grand Slam at the US Open in 2006 and then got her third at the 2008 Australian Open, leaving just the French Open out of her hands to complete a full set.

 

In 2007 Sharapova suffered a bad injury, which took a long time to really heal, despite attempting comebacks. In 2008 rehabilitation still really hadn’t completed and she had to undergo surgery. 2009 was better, climbing from the mid 100’s up to 14 in the world following full recovery of her shoulder. But then 2010 wasn’t too kind to her, losing confidence in her game and big form as well on the WTA circuit. Suddenly she was vulnerable and not getting close to a Grand Slam title. But the groundwork was being done and the fight in Sharapova was evident.

 

2011 saw her start clawing her way back into contention, reaching the final of Wimbledon for the second time in her career, losing there to Petra Kvitova. After losing in the final of the 2012 Australian Open, Sharapova went on a blistering run of form on clay, on her way to winning the French Open for the first time, completing a full set of Grand Slam titles.