Athlete of the Month for September 2022
Maria Sharapova, full name Maria Yuryevna Sharapova, (born April 19, 1987, Nyagan, Russia) is a Russian tennis player who won five Grand Slam titles in the early twenty-first century. Sharapova began playing tennis as a child and drew the attention of Czech-born American tennis star Martina Navratilova in 1993. Following Navratilova’s advice, Sharapova and her father relocated to Florida in 1994, where she quickly earned a scholarship to a tennis academy. She made her pro debut in 2001, at the age of 14. Women’s tennis was transitioning to a power game at the time, which suited Sharapova’s dominant style of play and her size; she eventually reached a height of 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters). She competed in every Grand Slam event in 2003, with her best finish coming in the fourth round at Wimbledon. That year, she won her first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) titles in Tokyo and Quebec City. She won her first Grand Slam in 2004 when she defeated Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. Sharapova was ranked number one for the first time in her career the following year, reaching the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open semifinals. She won the latter event in 2006 and her third Grand Slam in 2008 at the Australian Open.
Sharapova was an icon and made statements with her tennis accessories, like her Nike tennis dresses and pink prince tennis racket. She also released a candy line known as Sugarpova. Sugarpova is a candy line that sells chocolates, gummies, gumballs, and truffles. It was first introduced in 2013. Sugarpova candies are made from natural, non-GMO ingredients and are available in stores across the country.
On February 26, 2020, Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis through an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair: “Tennis… I Am Saying Goodbye.” As of July 2022, Maria Sharapova and Fiancé Alexander Gilkes Welcome Their First Baby, Theodore, at 35 and 42.