Maria Sharapova

by sabitha 2010-09-18 10:37:08

Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player. Her parents are originally from Gomel, Belarus, but moved to Russia in 1986 in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Siberia, the following year.

At the age of three, Sharapova moved with her family to the resort town of Sochi, beginning to play tennis at the age of four, using a racquet given to her by Yevgeny Kafelnikov's father. At age five or six, at a tennis clinic in Moscow, Sharapova was spotted by Martina Navratilova, who urged her parents to get her serious coaching in the United States.

At the age of seven she and her father Yuri, who could speak barely any English, boarded a plane to the USA with only $700. When they arrived at Miami airport the next morning, her father took her on the handlebars of a bicycle to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy without any notice whatsoever. They arrived at the academy and one of the coaches checked her out. The story goes that Maria knocked his hat off with the tennis ball, thereby making a favourable impression. This led to her obtaining a scholarship. At the age of 9, she was signed up by a number of sponsors including Prince (racquets), Oakley and Nike.

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