After breaking onto the professional tennis scene at just 14 years old in 2001, Maria Sharapova quickly became one of the sport’s biggest stars. This February, less than two months before she turned 33, she called it a career.
In between, the 6-foot-2 Russia-born star reached No. 1 in the world rankings, won five Grand Slam tournaments, posed for Sports Illustrated, and accumulated a pretty impressive net worth, between her tennis winnings, sponsorships, and other deals.
Sharapova was born in Russia in 1987, but has been a permanent resident of the U.S. since 1994, when she was a child. She began playing tennis while still in Russia, first hitting a ball at four. Two years later, she attended a camp run by women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who was impressed with her talents at such a young age.
That experience led the family to move to the United States, to help Maria pursue tennis. She and her father moved to Bradenton, Fla., home of IMG Academy, which she would attend at the age of nine, with IMG footing the bill after signing the young budding star.
In 2000, at 13, Sharapova won the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships, earning her the organization’s Rising Star Award. Five months later she’d make her pro tennis debut. After an impressive run through the junior world ranks, she put in her first full professional season in 2003. It didn’t take long for her to peak as a tennis player from there.
Sharapova’s Tennis Career:
In 2003, Sharapova failed to win her first match at both the Australian and French Opens, but pulled a big upset at Wimbledon, knocking off 11th seed Jelena Dokić, and reaching the fourth round. That year, she won the Japan Open Tennis Championships and the Bell Challenge, her first professional wins.
Her true star turn came at Wimbledon in 2004. At tennis’ most hallowed grounds, she upset Lindsey Davenport in the semifinal and superstar Serena Williams in the final to capture her first Grand Slam title, at just 17 years old. She became the third-youngest Wimbledon winner ever. She’d beat Serena again later in the year, to take home the 2004 WTA Finals title, coming back from a 4-0 deficit in the final set for the victory.
In 2005, Serena Williams got her revenge on Sharapova at the Australian Open, beating her in the semifinal before going on to win the event. She did not win a Grand Slam event that year, but had a strong season otherwise, reaching the No. 1 ranking in the world twice during the second half of the year.
Her success continued through the mid-to-late 2000s, with Grand Slam victories at the U.S. Open in 2006 and Australian Open in 2008. Around this same time, she began to deal with shoulder issues as well. Her 2008 was cut short due to a rotator cuff tear in August, which held her out until the following spring. After a prolonged slump, she’s reemerge in the Top 10 toward the end of 2011, and in 2012, complete her career Grand Slam with a victory over Sara Errani at the French Open, making her the 10th woman to win all four major events. During her run at Roland Garros, she regained the world No. 1 ranking as well. Later that year, she’d take home the Olympic silver medal at the London games.
Shoulder issues continued to plague Sharapova, and ended her 2013 season early. In 2014, she won her fifth and final Grand Slam, defeating Simona Halep at the French Open to win the tournament for the second time in three years.
Maria Sharapova’s career was beset with scandal in 2016. She failed a drug test at the Australian Open, testing positive for the banned substance meldonium. She said that she had been taking the drug for a decade for health reasons, and was unaware that it was banned by the International Tennis Federation. She was initially banned from the sport for two years, but it was reduced to 15 months later that year.
Sharapova had a bit of a career renaissance in 2018, after returning from the suspension, but shoulder and forearm injuries continued to take their toll. At the start of 2020, Sharapova lost in straight sets to Donna Vekić in the first round of the Australian Open. Weeks later, she announced her retirement
How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known? How do you walk away from the courts you’ve trained on since you were a little girl, the game that you love—one which brought you untold tears and unspeakable joys—a sport where you found a family, along with fans who rallied behind you for more than 28 years?
I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis—I’m saying goodbye.
Tennis showed me the world—and it showed me what I was made of. It’s how I tested myself and how I measured my growth. And so in whatever I might choose for my next chapter, my next mountain, I’ll still be pushing. I’ll still be climbing. I’ll still be growing.
Months later, it appears that she’s at real peace with the decision.
Stefanos Tsitsipas claims innocence after Andy Murray vents anger at…….
Stefanos Tsitsipas denied bending the rules with his bathroom breaks during his dramatic five-set victory over Andy Murray at the US Open.
Scot Murray, 34, blasted the Greek third seed for the “nonsense” and said he had lost respect for him after Tsitsipas disappeared off court for almost eight minutes at the start of the fifth set.
However, after closing out a 2-6 7-6 (7) 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over the 2012 champion in just less than five hours, Tsitsipas said: “If there’s something that he has to tell me, we should speak, the two of us, to kind of understand what went wrong.
I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines
“I don’t think I broke any rules. I played by the guidelines, how everything is. I don’t know how my opponent feels when I’m out there playing the match. It’s not really my priority.
“As far as I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair, then the rest is fine. I have nothing against him. Absolutely nothing.”
Murray’s defeat, and that of Marin Cilic, who had to retire at two sets all against Philipp Kohlschreiber, means there is only one player left in the men’s draw to have won a grand slam title – the 20-time major winner Novak Djokovic.
Daniil Medvedev, the second seed from Russia, got his bid for a maiden grand slam title off to a confident start by beating Richard Gasquet in straight sets.
The 25-year-old roared past Frenchman Gasquet 6-4 6-3 6-1 in less than two hours.
RBA drops just games to advance to Round 2.
Nick Kyrgios won just seven games as his campaign came to an end at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut.
Australian Kyrgios threw in his usual tweeners and underarm serves but Bautista Agut, the unflappable 18th seed from Spain, was too solid as he ran out 6-3 6-4 6-0 winner.
Andrey Rublev, the Russian fifth seed, is safely through after a straight-sets win over Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic.
Usain Bolt reveals he’s ‘always’ had a crush on Beyoncé and he was starstruck to meet her
He may hold the title as the fastest man in the world, but even Usain Bolt gets nervous once in a while, especially when it comes to meeting beautiful women. Speaking to Lorraine Kelly on Friday morning, the nine-time Olympic gold medallist revealed that he has a crush on none other than Beyoncé.
The sporting legend revealed his celebrity crush live on Lorraine
“Because I was always a fan, I’ve always had a crush on Beyoncé, so I’ve always had a conversation I would have [in my head] and when I met her I was like [stares open-eyed] ‘hi’,” he told the day time host. “I could tell I was looking at her weird because she was looking at me like, ‘why is he staring at me’. It was fun though.”
President Obama also has an affect on the 30-year-old, who admitted: “When I met Obama that was also massive for me.”
Usain was on Lorraine to chat about his new documentary I Am Bolt, which follows the sporting legend in the 18 months leading up to his historical Olympic triple win in Rio this year.
Talking about his training, Usain revealed: “People always say, ‘you make it look so easy, I could probably do it’ and I’m like, ‘no, no’. So to make people see the work that I put in and the strain that goes in, mentally and physically. I wanted people to see all of that so they could understand me better and to see the work I put in is no joke.”
The Olympic champion also shut down rumours that he was engaged to his main crush, girlfriend of two years, Kasi Bennett, following a heavily hinted Snapchat image of the couple on holiday. The sweet snap was accompanied by the caption “She said yes”, complete with emojis of a bride and a love heart.
“I’m not engaged. Me and my girlfriend, we went on a trip to Bora Bora and we took a picture and somebody edited my Snapchat, and edited it, and it said, ‘she said yes’ with a ring and a mad face and stuff and I was like [shocked face], it was well done though. It was well done, you know what I mean,” he explained.
Despite there being no talk of wedding bells anytime soon, it hasn’t stopped Usain’s mum from hoping she will be a grandmother in the near future. “My mum is pressuring me. I was like, ‘mum just let me retire and I’ll get there,'” he said.
Unbelievable: Maria Sharapova says she got mobbed in the Olympic village cafeteria
Many players prefer not to stay at the Olympic village as other athletes tend to get a little star struck at coming face to face with high profile superstars. Maria Sharapova got a taste of this herself when she went into the cafeteria at the Olympic village.
Sharapova is the highest earning female athlete in the world and a global superstar. “I’m usually pretty naïve about like people’s knowledge of me, my career, what I’ve achieved,” Sharapova told the press after her first round win on Sunday in London.
“I try to be pretty humble about it, but the biggest mistake I’ve made in a long time was entering the cafeteria. I didn’t walk out eating any food. I barely got an orange juice. It was quite funny. Actually, I didn’t sign any autographs, it was just pictures. I felt like a little statue.”