Birthplace: Nyagan, Siberia, Russia
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Winner of 3 Grand Slam titles
Maria Sharapova is a Russian tennis player, who won the singles championship at Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, and the Australian Open in 2008. Because she is blond and beautiful, Sharapova is often called "Anna Kournikova with a game", which is an important distinction for true tennis fans. Even before winning Wimbledon at 17, Sharapova had already won three Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and four International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles titles.
Sharapova's family lived near the oil refineries of Nyagan, but when she was two years old the family moved to Sechi, a city on the shores of the Black Sea, to escape fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. At 4, the father of tennis champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov -- a beer buddy of Sharapova's father -- gave her a tennis racket, and she started bashing balls against walls. At age 6, she attended a tennis clinic in Moscow, and met and played a game with Martina Navratilova, who was impressed. Navratilova told Sharapova's father he had a prodigy on his hands, and the family began saving for a move to America.
Accompanied by her father, Sharapova moved to Florida when she was 7 (say some reports) or 9 (say others), to be coached by Nick Bollettieri, formerly coach to Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Kournikova, and others. At the time, she spoke no English and owned only two tennis rackets. Her mother was unable to get a visa, and remained in Russia for two more years. At Bollettieri's tennis academy, Sharapova was usually pitted against older players, and shared a dormitory with older girls. She has often said she felt like an outsider, but "I learned to be a better fighter, and I never cried."
Sharapova has endorsement deals with Nike, NEC, and Prince, and has signed with IMG Models, the firm that employs Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum.
Father: Uri Sharapov (tennis coach)
Mother: Yelena Sharapova
Boyfriend: Sasha Vujacic (pro basketball player, b. 8-Mar-1984, fiancé 2010)
High School: Keystone National High School (online)
Winner, Wimbledon (women's singles) 2004
Winner, US Open (women's singles) 2006
Champion, US Open Series (female) 2007
Winner, Australian Open (women's singles) 2008
Surgery Oct-2008 (right shoulder)
Endorsement of Nike
Endorsement of Canon 2008
Endorsement of TAG Heuer
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