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     Maria Sharapova
Given Name:
     Sharapova, Maria Yuryevna
     April 19th, 1987
     Nyagan, Siberia, Russia

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Maria Sharapova Biography

Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова;) was born April 19th, 1987. Sharapova is a former world number one professional tennis player and the highest paid female athlete. Her parents are originally from Gomel, Belarus, but moved to Siberia, Russia in 1986, in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Russia, the following year. She now lives in the United States, but retains Russian citizenship.

At the age of three, Sharapova moved with her family to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. She started playing tennis at the age of four, using a racquet given to her by the father of tennis star Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a native of Sochi. At the age of six, while in a tennis clinic in Moscow, Sharapova was spotted by Martina Navratilova, who urged her parents to get her serious coaching in the United States.

Barely able to make ends meet, Sharapova's parents took a risk. Sharapova and her father traveled to Florida to enroll at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. A visa problem meant a two-year separation between Sharapova and her father in America, and her mother in Russia.

To pay for her school fees, her father worked at several jobs at one time. A full scholarship granted by International Management Group made life more comfortable for the father and daughter.

In 2004, after a spectacular run, which included three-set wins over Ai Sugiyama (5-7, 7-5, 6-1) and Lindsay Davenport (2-6, 7-6, 6-1), Sharapova became the third youngest Wimbledon women's champion (after Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis) and second youngest in the Open Era by defeating defending two-time champion Serena Williams in straight sets (6-1, 6-4). She also became the first Russian ever to win that tournament. Sharapova followed it up with a victory at the season-ending WTA Championships, defeating Serena Williams again by a score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. In the final set, she came back from a defecit of 4-0.

From June 2004 until her Wimbledon semi-final appearance in 2005, Sharapova had a 22-match winning streak on grass, including back-to-back Birmingham titles and the Wimbledon crown. Sharapova's huge success continued after winning Wimbledon, both on the court, making the semi-finals of the 2005 Australian Open (and holding 3 match points in the semis against the eventual champ, Serena Williams), and off with numerous endorsements following

Defending her Wimbledon title in 2005 looked to be a simple enough task at first, with Sharapova sailing through to the semi-finals without losing a set. However, she dropped her first set of the tournament against a rejuvenated Venus Williams and lost the match 6-7 1-6. Sharapova's streak on grass was ended, as was her quest for the No. 1 ranking, with Lindsay Davenport, who lost a historic match to Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final, retaining that position.

However, a back injury that Davenport sustained in the Wimbledon final meant that she could not defend the ranking points she obtained during the US hard court season of 2004. Sharapova was also suffering from an injury and did not complete a tournament during the season, but she had fewer points to defend and therefore rose to the No. 1 ranking on August 22, 2005. Her reign lasted only a week when Davenport re-ascended after winning the New Haven title. Sharapova rose to the No. 1 ranking again on September 12, 2005 despite losing in the semi-finals of the US Open. Sharapova would hold on to the No. 1 ranking for a further six weeks before relinquishing it again to Davenport following the 2005 Zurich Open.

Her loss in the semifinal of the 2005 US Open against Kim Clijsters marked the fourth time that season that she lost at a Grand Slam tournament against the eventual champion: Australian Open-SF-Serena Williams, French Open-QF-Justine Henin-Hardenne, Wimbledon-SF-Venus Williams, US Open-SF-Kim Clijsters. That record was broken in January 2006, when Sharapova lost in the Australian Open semi-final to Justine Henin-Hardenne. Henin-Hardenne went on to lose in the final of the Australian Open to Amélie Mauresmo.

On March 18, 2006, Sharapova, as No. 3 seed, claimed her first title of the year at the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells (a Tier 1 event), defeating No.4 seed Elena Dementieva in the final, 6-1 6-2. This was the 11th title of her career. Sharapova was the first Russian to reach the final of the Pacific Life Open. As Dementieva reached the final later, surprisingly defeating Justine Henin-Hardenne, this was the first-ever all-Russian final at the event. Soon after, Sharapova reached the final of the Nasdaq-100 losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6, 3-6. She then took 2 months off because of an ankle injury, resulting in her pulling out of events in Rome and Istanbul.

Sharapova decided to participate at the 2006 French Open despite having not played any clay court tune-ups. After saving three match points in the first round against Mashona Washington, Sharapova was eliminated in the fourth round by Dinara Safina, blowing a lead of 5-1 in the third set, and losing 18 of the last 21 points to lose 5-7, 6-2, 5-7. She welcomed the onset of the grass season, but failed to add a third successive Birmingham title to her collection, losing in the semi-finals to the inexperienced American player Jamea Jackson.

For the second consecutive year, Sharapova was defeated in the semi-finals of The Championships, Wimbledon, losing to eventual winner Amélie Mauresmo 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Sharapova currently has a 1-5 record in Grand Slam semi-finals. Sharapova is currently ranked No. 4 in the world.

Sharapova claimed her second title of 2006 (12th career title) as the second seed at the Acura Classic in San Diego, defeating top seed Kim Clijsters, 7-5 7-5 (Her first victory over Clijsters in five meetings).

Sharapova studies via correspondence on the internet with the Keystone High School home schooling program and has a liking for sociology. As of 2004, she is in her second year of high school at 18 years of age.

Maria is rumoured to be currently dating Andy Roddick. In July 2006 , Maria and her agents sued a Florida based production company Byzantium Productions Inc over illegally using her name and image to promote their documentaries. A federal judge ruled in Byzantium's favour on August 3 , 2006

2003 - WTA Newcomer of the Year

2004 - WTA Player of the Year, WTA Most Improved Player of the Year & WTA Player Service

2005 - ESPY Best Female Tennis Player, Named Russia's tennis federation as the country's best female player for the year, & Awarded the honorary Master of Sports of Russia title

After winning Wimbledon in 2004, Sharapova signed a one-year deal with Car company, Honda, but the deal was only in Japan.

In November 2004, Sharapova signed a deal to represent Canon Inc. and promotes both their cameras and office products.

In December 2004, she signed a deal with Swiss sports watch TAG Heuer to become their latest "sport and glamour" ambassador.

Also in December 2004, Sharapova donated $10,000 to victims of earthquake and killer tsunamis in Thailand.

In January 2005 she donated proceeds of an auction for the Porsche car she won at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships of more than $50,000 to victims of the school siege in Beslan, Russia.

In April 2005, she was listed by People Magazine as among the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world.

In June 2005, Forbes magazine listed Sharapova as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with annual earnings of $18 million. A significant portion of this amount came from endorsements.

In 2006, Maxim magazine named her the hottest athlete in the world. In February 2006, she featured in a six-page bikini photoshoot spread in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue annual magazine which debuted on Valentine's Day, along with 25 other scantily-clad supermodels. Sharapova joined the ranks of other athletes who have previously appeared in the publication. In April 2006 Sharapova signed a three-year deal with Car company Land Rover to endorse their vehicles that one source with knowledge of the deal said was worth approximately $2 million a year.

In June 2006, Maria appeared in a commercial for ESPN's This is SportsCenter campaign. In the commercial, she is walking past Stuart Scott's desk when he stops her. He offers her a can of tennis balls he received from a supplier. She says that the can is filled with paper "worms" and that she doesn't want it. Stuart acts offended, causing Maria to feel bad. She obliges to take the can, opens it, and paper worms fly into her face. She angrily walks away and throws the can back at Stuart after he asks for it back. This commercial is a sequel to a similar one featuring Roger Federer.

Never one to stay quiet on court, perhaps one of the most unusual aspects of Sharapova's game is her trademark on-court "grunting", or "screaming". Quite possibly the loudest female screamer since Monica Seles, Sharapova's on-court grunts have been measured at 102.12 decibels — apparently as loud as a police siren. Sharapova claims that this is just part of her game and that only the British press give her a hard time about it. Elena Dementieva, Sharapova's opponent in the Wimbledon 2006 quarter-final, is the latest player to complain about the distraction it causes. Says what she enjoys most about being a professional tennis player is the traveling/getting to meet new people and see new cultures.

Is good friends with fellow Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko, despite not getting along with many of the other female Russian tennis players. Is affectionately called "Masha".

Is rumoured to be dating American tennis star Andy Roddick, as reported by US Weekly in the August 14, 2006 issue (she was spotted watching one of his matches) Is ambidextrous, and was undecided about which hand to use dominantly up until her professional tennis career began.

Earns 13.4 million GBP per year, over 90 percent of which comes from endorsements. When asked about her income, said, "It's never enough. Bring on the money. There's no limit to how much you can make."

Maria Sharapova Casting Credits

"Open Access"
- Stars for Stars (2006) TV Episode .... Herself
- Viewers' Choice (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
- Doha & San Jose (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
- Year-End Championships (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
- Best of Open Access (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
- Episode dated 21 December 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
"Matthew's Best Hit TV+"
- Episode dated 18 October 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
... aka NBC News Today (USA: promotional title)
... aka The Today Show (USA)
- Episode dated 23 August 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
ESPY Awards (2005) (TV) .... Herself
"The Footy Show"
- Live from London (2005) TV Episode .... Herself
Stars for Stars: A Celebration of Tennis Excellence (2005) (TV) .... Herself
"Charity Jam" (2005) TV Series .... Herself
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"
- Episode dated 16 July 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
"Total Request Live"
... aka TRL (USA: promotional abbreviation)
... aka Total Request with Carson Daly (USA)
- Episode dated 7 July 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
"The Early Show"
... aka The Saturday Early Show (USA: weekend title)
- Episode dated 7 July 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
"Live with Regis and Kathie Lee"
... aka Live with Regis (USA: new title)
... aka Live with Regis & Kelly (USA: new title)
- Episode dated 6 July 2004 (2004) TV Episode .... Herself
"No Strings" (2003) TV Series .... Herself
Celebrity Debut (2006) (TV) .... Herself