Born in Russia to Yuri and Elena, Maria Sharapova is a professional tennis player ranked No. 2 in the world.
She has won 27 singles titles, including four Grand Slam titles.
Maria was an only child and her parents encouraged her to try everything, from dancing to music. By the time she was six, local tennis coaches encouraged her father to take her to Moscow to be considered for the Russian Tennis Federation.
Her parents, instead, took the advice of Martina Navratilova, who believed the U.S. would be the best place for Maria to get her training. When Maria Sharapova was nine, her father took her to Florida where she enrolled in a tennis academy. (Her father only had $1000 and had to take a variety of jobs to support themselves.)
Maria Sharapova recalled, "We were in a completely new world. It was like I was going on some adventure: Where am I? This is completely new: new people, new life, new food, and the first few years were basically about that.but those things [including her mother having to remain in Russia] have developed my character. I'm grateful for what I have because it was never just given to me" (womenshealthmag.com).
Maria turned professional at the age of 14 and claimed her first victory at the 2003 AIG Japan Open, and also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
In 2004, Maria Sharapova defeated Serena Williams and won Wimbledon.
In 2006, she ranked number 4 and won the US Open.
A shoulder injury in 2007 kept her off the grass and plagued her games. She made her comeback in 2011.
In 2012, she won the French Open, becoming the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam.
At the 2012 Summer Olympic Game, her debut, she won a silver medal in women's singles, losing the gold to Serena Williams.
Aside from tennis, Maria Sharapova has endorsement deals with companies like Nike and Tiffany & Co. She is worth an estimated $24 million dollars.
Maria Sharapova describes herself as "Stubborn. Very stubborn." She loves tennis because "all of your wins and all your losses are in your hands. I mean, I would be terrible at team sports. I'd never be able to pass the ball to anyone" (womenshealthmag.com).
Her main residence is in Florida, which she shares with her parents. "I'm very European that way. In Europe you live with your parents until you're older. I love having their company." She also has a vacation house in Manhattan Beach.
Maria Sharapova speaks English and Russian.