Concerned about the regional effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident , they left their homeland shortly before Maria was born. There her father Yuri befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and become Russia's first world No.
Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet in when she was four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park. She then was offered a deal from IMG which forced her to change academies. Due to restrictions on how many professional events she could play, Sharapova went to hone her game in junior tournaments, where she reached the finals of the girls' singles events at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in She was the youngest girl ever to reach the final of the Australian Open junior championship at 14 years and 9 months.
In all, she won three junior singles tournaments and was runner-up at five, including two junior Grand Slam events.
Her win-loss record in junior competition was 47—9. First tournament titles[ edit ] From , Sharapova played a full season and made a rapid climb into the top 50 by the end of the year.
By the end of September, Sharapova had already captured her first WTA title at a smaller event, the Japan Open Tennis Championships , before winning her second in her final tournament of the season, the Bell Challenge.
Wimbledon glory and rise to fame[ edit ] Main article: At the latter event, she defeated a player ranked in the top 10 for the first time with a straight-sets win over world No. Seeded 13th and aged 17 at Wimbledon, she reached her first Grand Slam semifinal by defeating Ai Sugiyama.
There, she defeated fifth seed and former champion Lindsay Davenport. In the final, Sharapova upset top seed and defending champion Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam singles title, and become the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon title, behind only Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis.
Sharapova also became the second Russian woman after Anastasia Myskina had won the year's previous major at Roland Garros to win a Grand Slam singles title. The victory was hailed by the media as "the most stunning upset in memory",  with other writers commenting on her arrival as a serious challenger to the Williams' dominance at Wimbledon.
There, she won two of her three round-robin matches including a win over US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in order to advance to the semifinals, where she defeated Myskina. In the final, she defeated Serena Williams, after trailing 4—0 in the final set.
Sharapova held match points in the third set of her semifinal match, before losing to eventual champion Serena Williams.
In February, Sharapova won back-to-back tournaments, the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the Qatar Total Open , allowing her to reach number 3 in the world rankings for the first time.
In the semifinals of the Tier I Pacific Life Open , Sharapova was defeated by Lindsay Davenport , the first time she had failed to win a game in a match.
Sharapova would have become world No. However, she was then beaten by eventual champion Venus Williams. However, she once again leapfrogged Davenport to take the world No. She retained it for six weeks, but after playing few tournaments while injured, she again relinquished the ranking to Davenport. US Open champion[ edit ] Sharapova celebrating after winning the US Open Sharapova started by losing in the semifinals of the Australian Open in three sets to Henin,  also losing a rematch several weeks later at the Dubai Tennis Championships , having defeated former world No.
Sharapova claimed her first title in nine months at the Tier I tournament in Indian Wells, defeating Hingis in the semifinals and Elena Dementieva in the final. There, after saving match points in defeating Mashona Washington in the first round, she was eliminated by Dinara Safina in the fourth round.
By winning all three of her round-robin matches at the WTA Tour Championships , she extended her win streak to 19 matches, before it was snapped in the semifinals by eventual champion Henin.
As it was, she finished ranked world No. After being two points away from defeat in the first round against Camille Pin , she went on to reach the final of the tournament for the first time, but was routed there by Serena Williams who was ranked world No. After reaching the final, Sharapova recaptured the world No. She reached the semifinals of the French Open for the first time in her career, before losing to Ana Ivanovic. She qualified for the eight-woman year-end Sony Ericsson Championships because of a withdrawal by Venus Williams before the start of the tournament.
She then defeated Anna Chakvetadze in the semifinals. Sharapova reached the top 5 again to end the year. Australian Open champion, No. Nevertheless, she defeated former world No. After the Australian Open, Sharapova extended her winning streak to 18 matches. Her winning streak was ended in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open by Kuznetsova. This was her earliest loss at Wimbledon, and at any Grand Slam in almost five years. In October, after a failed attempt to rehabilitate the shoulder, Sharapova had surgery to repair the tear.
After this, Sharapova withdrew from further singles tournaments, resulting in her standing in the world rankings being severely affected. She dropped out of the top for the first time in six years in May, the nadir being world No. She was upset in the second round by Gisela Dulko in three sets. At the US Open , Sharapova was seeded 29th.
She found her way into the third round, defeating Tsvetana Pironkova and Christina McHale all in straight sets. She was stunned in the third round by American teenager Melanie Oudin. The loss made Sharapova's ranking go down to No. The loss meant that for the first time since , Sharapova had lost her opening match at a Grand Slam event. She continued her French Open preparation at the Internationaux de Strasbourg as a wildcard, advancing to the final, where she beat Kristina Barrois.
This was her first title on red clay and 22nd overall title. She advanced to the final for the fourth time, where she lost to Li Na. As the 16th seed at Wimbledon , Sharapova lost in the fourth round to world No.
Open , Sharapova was the 14th seed. She made it to the fourth round, where she played top seed and finalist Caroline Wozniacki and lost. She defeated former world No. In the final, she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka , despite a late comeback in the second set. She defeated top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals and sixth seed Samantha Stosur in the final to take home the title, marking her biggest clay-court victory to date. She defeated French wildcard Caroline Garcia in the second round, despite trailing 3—6, 1—4, before winning the last 11 games of the match.
In the quarterfinals, she defeated 15th seed Andrea Petkovic , marking her first Grand Slam semifinal since her comeback from the career-threatening shoulder injury. She then lost to sixth seed and eventual champion Li Na , in the semifinals, ending her clay season with a win-loss record of 12—2.
Sharapova started her summer hard-court season at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. In a highly anticipated match, Sharapova lost to the eventual champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
As the fourth seed, she received a bye into the second round. On the way to her fourth final of the year, she beat Anastasia Rodionova ,  14th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova ,  tenth seed Samantha Stosur,  and 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva.
She beat Heather Watson , and Anastasiya Yakimova , to reach the third round. She was then upset by Flavia Pennetta.
This also forced her to withdraw from the China Open the following week. Sharapova then flew to Istanbul to prepare for the WTA Tour Championships , her first time qualifying since Career Grand Slam, back to No. She lost to Victoria Azarenka in two sets.
As a result, her ranking improved to world No. She then played in the Paris , where she lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Angelique Kerber. Sharapova at the Summer Olympics, July At the Indian Wells , after battling for over three hours, Sharapova defeated compatriot Maria Kirilenko to set up a semifinal meeting with Ana Ivanovic.
Sharapova advanced to the final after Ivanovic retired due to a hip injury. Sharapova's next tournament was the Sony Ericsson Open , where she was seeded 2nd and received a bye. This was her third loss of the year in finals out of four tournaments played so far. She won her first title of the year in Stuttgart after defeating world number one Victoria Azarenka. In doing so, Sharapova defeated three current Grand Slam title holders to win the tournament.
Sharapova then played on the Mutua Madrid Open , a premier mandatory event. As the defending champion and second seed at the Italian Open , Sharapova had a bye in the first round. In the semifinals, Sharapova defeated Angelique Kerber to advance to the final for the second year in a row. In the final, Sharapova saved match point for a 2-hour minute win over Li Na for her 26th career title.
In the final, she defeated Sara Errani for her first French Open title. However, she was upset in the fourth round by 15th-seeded Sabine Lisicki , whom she beat in the previous year's semifinals.
As a result, she lost her No. Sharapova defeated Kirilenko to reach the Olympic final, where she lost to Serena Williams, .