|Nick Name:||The Siberian Siren|
|Height:||185 cm (6' 1'')|
|Birth Day:||April 19, 1987|
|Birth Place:||Nyagan, Russia|
Tennis star who became the first Russian to win a career Grand Slam when she defeated Sara Errani at the 2012 French Open. She won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, falling to Serena Williams in the final.
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|185 cm (6' 1'')||68 kg||Blonde||Green||N/A||N/A|
She traveled to the United States to continue her training with just her dad, as visa restrictions made it so her mother couldn't come over until two years later.
Maria Sharapova was born on 19 April 1987, in Nyagan, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. Her parents, Yuri Sharapov and Yelena, are from Gomel, Byelorussian SSR. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly before Maria was born.
In 1989, when Sharapova was three, the family moved to Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia. She hit her first tennis ball when she was 4 years old. 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. 1 ranked tennis player. Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet in 1991 when she was four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park. Maria took her first tennis lessons with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin, who was instantly impressed when he saw her play, noting her "exceptional hand-eye coordination".
In 1993, at the age of six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training with Nick Bollettieri at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, who had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri Sharapov borrowed the sum that would enable him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States, which they finally did in 1994. Visa restrictions prevented Sharapova's mother from joining them for two years. Arriving in Florida with savings of US$700, Sharapova's father took various low-paying jobs to fund her lessons until she was old enough to be admitted to the academy. Initially, she trained with Rick Macci. In 1995, however, she was signed by IMG, who agreed to pay the annual tuition fee of $35,000 for Sharapova to stay at the Academy, allowing her to finally enroll at the age of 9.
Sharapova first hit the tennis scene in November 2000, when she won the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships in the girls' 16 division at the age of just 13. She was then given a special distinction, the Rising Star Award, which is awarded only to players of exceptional promise. Sharapova made her professional debut in 2001 on her 14th birthday on 19 April, and played her first WTA tournament at the Pacific Life Open in 2002, winning a match before losing to Monica Seles. 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 2002. She was the youngest girl ever to reach the final of the Australian Open junior championship at 14 years and 9 months.
Sharapova reached No. 6 in the ITF junior world singles ranking on 21 October 2002. 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. Her best results in the Junior Grand Slam tournaments were the finals of the 2002 Australian Open, finals of the 2002 Wimbledon Championships, third round of the 2002 French Open, and second round of the 2001 US Open.
From 2003, Sharapova played a full season and made a rapid climb into the top 50 by the end of the year. She made her debuts at both the Australian Open and the French Open, but failed to win a match in either. Then, as a wildcard at Wimbledon, she defeated 11th seed Jelena Dokić, her first win over a top-20 player, to reach the fourth round, where she lost in three sets to Svetlana Kuznetsova. 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. To cap off her first full season as a professional, she was awarded the WTA Newcomer of the Year honor.
Sharapova kicked off her 2015 season at the Brisbane International where she was top seed and received a bye in the first round. Sharapova defeated Yaroslava Shvedova and Carla Suárez Navarro. In the semi finals, Sharapova faced Elina Svitolina, beating her in straight sets. Reaching the final without dropping a set, Sharapova played an intense match against second seed Ana Ivanovic but came through in three sets. This was Sharapova's 10th win over Ivanovic and by winning her 34th title, it meant that Sharapova had won at least one title every year for 13 consecutive years. Also, it was just her second title in Australia so far, and for both she beat Ivanovic. Sharapova's next tournament was the 2015 Australian Open, where she beat Petra Martić and fellow countrywoman Alexandra Panova (despite having two match points against her) in the first two rounds, before beating Zarina Diyas and Peng Shuai in straight sets. There, she beat seventh-seeded Eugenie Bouchard and fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets to make her fourth Australian Open final, where she lost to Serena Williams in straight sets, worsening her record against her to 2–17. In February, following her participation in the Fed Cup, Sharapova played in Acapulco, where she beat Shelby Rogers, Mariana Duque Mariño and Magdaléna Rybáriková to advance the semifinals. Sharapova later withdrew from her match against Caroline Garcia, citing a stomach virus. Next, in Indian Wells, she beat Yanina Wickmayer and Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, before losing to defending champion Flavia Pennetta in the fourth round in three sets. After receiving a bye in the first round of the Miami Open, Sharapova lost in the second round to fellow Russian Daria Gavrilova in straight sets, marking her earliest exit from the tournament since her first appearance in Miami in 2003.
Sharapova used the Prince Triple Threat Hornet for part of 2003 and then used several different Prince racquets until the US Open. She gave the racquet she used in the 2004 Wimbledon final to Regis Philbin when taping Live with Regis and Kelly. Sharapova began using the Prince Shark OS at that tournament specially designed for her. She then switched to the Prince O3 White racquet in January 2006. She switched to the Prince O3 Speedport Black in July 2008. After being with Prince for ten years, Sharapova began endorsing Head racquets in 2011 and uses the Head YOUTEK IG Instinct. Sharapova signed a three-year deal to be brand ambassador for Porsche in 2013.
Sharapova had far fewer points to defend, and so she became the first Asian and Russian woman to hold the world No. 1 ranking on 22 August 2005. Her reign lasted only one week, however, as Davenport reclaimed the top ranking after winning the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament.
As the top seed at the US Open, Sharapova lost in the semifinals to Kim Clijsters, meaning she had lost to the eventual champion in every Grand Slam of the season. However, she once again leapfrogged Davenport to take the world No. 1 ranking on 12 September 2005. She retained it for six weeks, but after playing few tournaments while injured, she again relinquished the ranking to Davenport. To conclude the year, Sharapova failed to defend her title at the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Los Angeles, defeating Davenport in one of her round-robin matches, but ultimately losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Amélie Mauresmo.
Sharapova is known for on-court "grunting", which reached a recorded 101 decibels during a match at Wimbledon in 2005. During her second round match in Birmingham in 2003, Sharapova was asked to tone down the level of her grunt after opponent Nathalie Dechy complained to the umpire, with Sharapova's response saying that her grunting was "a natural instinct." Monica Seles suggested that grunting is involuntary and a part of tennis. When questioned by the media about her grunting, Sharapova urged the media to "just watch the match." Her defensive game was worked on by her new coach, and this reflected in her results, making consecutive semi-finals at premier mandatory events on the tour. Later in her career, Sharapova also added drop shots to her repertoire, making for a more unpredictable game style.
The Maria Sharapova Foundation is committed to helping children around the world achieve their dreams. Sharapova has donated $100,000 to Chernobyl-related projects. In partnership with the UNDP, she launched a $210,000 scholarship program for students from Chernobyl-affected areas of Belarus that will award five-year scholarships to 12 students at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts and the Belarusian State University. At the 2004 US Open, Sharapova, along with several other Russian female tennis players, wore a black ribbon in observance of the tragedy after the Beslan school hostage crisis, which took place only days before. In 2005, she donated around US$50,000 to those affected by the crisis. On February 14, 2007, Sharapova was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donated US$210,000 to UNDP Chernobyl-recovery projects. She stated at the time that she was planning to travel back to the area after Wimbledon in 2008, though it didn't happen since she had to travel back to the US because of her shoulder injury. She fulfilled the trip in late June/early July 2010. Sharapova helped to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and was the first torch bearer in the torch-lighting ceremony during the opening festivities. In addition, with Angela Haynes, Maria Kirilenko, Nicole Vaidišová, Rennae Stubbs, Governor Jeb Bush, and Jennifer Capriati, Sharapova participated in an exhibition in Tampa in December 2004, raising money for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund. In July 2008, Sharapova sent a message on DVD to the memorial service of cancer victim Emily Bailes, who had performed the coin toss ahead of the 2004 Wimbledon final that Sharapova had gone on to win.
Sharapova started 2006 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. 1 Martina Hingis and world No. 3 Lindsay Davenport in earlier rounds of the tournament. 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. She reached the final in Miami before losing to Kuznetsova.
Sharapova did not compete in any of the summer hard-court warm-up events after the Olympics, pulling out of both Montreal and Cincinnati (where she was the defending champion) due to a stomach virus. Seeded third at the US Open, Sharapova breezed through her first three matches against Melinda Czink, Lourdes Domínguez Lino, and Mallory Burdette, losing a total of just seven games. In the fourth round, compatriot Nadia Petrova took it to a third set and was winning until a rain delay. After the delay, Sharapova came back to win, advancing to the quarterfinals of the US Open for the first time since she won the tournament in 2006. In the quarterfinals, she faced 11th seed Marion Bartoli, who was 4–0 up before a rain delay, which delayed the match a whole day. Sharapova then came back from a set down to win. In the semifinals, Sharapova lost to world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka despite winning the first set.
At the end of 2005, Sharapova stated she was now keen to make her Fed Cup debut and was set to play against Belgium in April 2006, but withdrew. She later withdrew from ties against Spain in April 2007 and against the United States in July 2007 because of injuries. The latter withdrawal led to Russia's captain saying she would be "ineligible for selection" for the Fed Cup final in September. However, Sharapova attended the final, cheering from the sidelines and acting as a "hitting partner" in practices, resulting in some of her Russian teammates implying that she was attending only to enable her to play at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (rules state that players must have "shown commitment" to Fed Cup in order to play). Svetlana Kuznetsova said, "She said she wanted to be our practice partner but if you can't play how then can you practice?"
Sharapova's tennis success and appearance have enabled her to secure commercial endorsements that greatly exceed the value of her tournament winnings. In March 2006, Forbes magazine listed her as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with annual earnings of over US$18 million, the majority of which was from endorsements and sponsorships. She topped that list every year until 2016, even after her 2007 shoulder injury. In 2011, Forbes listed Sharapova as No. 29 in their list of 50 top-paid athletes, the only woman on the list. In 2012, she was listed as No. 15, and was joined in the top 20 by Li Na at No. 16 and Serena Williams at No. 17. In April 2005, People named her one of the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In 2006, Maxim ranked Sharapova the hottest athlete in the world for the fourth consecutive year. She posed in a six-page bikini photoshoot spread in the 2006 Valentine's Day issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, alongside 25 supermodels. In a poll run by Britain's FHM magazine, she was voted the seventh most eligible bachelorette, based on both "wealth and looks."
Sharapova enjoyed considerable success in the summer months, reaching the quarterfinals at the Bank of the West Classic, the semifinals at the LA Women's Tennis Championships, and finishing runner-up at the Rogers Cup to Elena Dementieva. At the 2009 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. It was the second time in Sharapova's career that she lost to a teenager at a Grand Slam, having lost to Agnieszka Radwańska during the same event in 2007. The loss made Sharapova's ranking go down to No. 32.
Sharapova initially was not as well-suited to the slower clay courts as she was on hard and grass courts. Sharapova admitted in 2007 that she was not as comfortable with her movement on clay compared with other court surfaces and once described herself as like a "cow on ice" after a match on clay, due to her inability to slide. Later in her career, she showed improvement on this surface with respect to experience, as evidenced with her first WTA red-clay title at the 2010 Internationaux de Strasbourg, 7 years since playing on the WTA circuit. She won her first French Open title and captured the career grand slam at the 2012 French Open and as of 2014, led the WTA tour of active players with the highest winning percentage on clay, with an 84.25% winning rate. Since her shoulder injury, her best surface became clay over grass and hard courts, and with her victory at the 2014 French Open, she won the French Open twice, which is more than she won any other slam, and three out of her four last Grand Slam Finals have all been at the French Open (3 consecutive finals from 2012 to 2014).
Immediately after her win at the 2004 Wimbledon Championship, mobile phone company Motorola signed Sharapova to endorse their mobile phone line. Additionally, she appeared in commercials for Land Rover and Canon, as well as approved of namesake items by watch brand Tag Heuer and jeweller Tiffany. Tiffany also provides Sharapova with earrings from the "Tiffany for Maria Sharapova" collection at the four major events, that are also retailed globally. She also starred in an award-winning campaign for the sports clothing brand Nike, "Pretty", in the summer of 2006. She signed a sponsorship deal in January 2007 with Gatorade and Tropicana, which ended in 2009. In 2007, Sharapova was featured in a number of Canon USA's commercials for the PowerShot. Sharapova has also been depicted in many tennis-related video games. Some of the titles include the Top Spin series, Virtua Tennis series, and Grand Slam Tennis series. During the layoff due to her shoulder surgery, sensing the fleeting nature of a professional athlete's career, Sharapova decided to focus on developing her name as a brand, beginning with meeting with her sponsors more extensively to further her brand. In January 2010, it was announced that Sharapova had renewed her contract with Nike, signing an 8-year deal for $70 million. This is the most lucrative deal ever for a sportswoman, dwarfing the previous record, which was Venus Williams' $43 million deal with Reebok.
Sharapova finally made her Fed Cup debut in February 2008, in Russia's quarterfinal tie against Israel. She won both her singles rubbers, against Tzipora Obziler and Shahar Pe'er, helping Russia to a 4–1 victory. For the semifinals, she was given permission to skip the tie, with Tarpishchev announcing that she will be on the team for the final. However, the date of the final coincided with the lay-off from her shoulder injury, and thus she did not play.
In her return from layoff in 2008 to 2009, she used an abbreviated motion, which was somewhat less powerful, and though producing aces, also gave a very high number of double faults. After her early loss at the 2009 US Open, Sharapova returned to a more elongated motion, similar to her pre-surgery serve. She was able to produce speeds greater than before, including a 121-mph serve hit at the Birmingham tournament in 2010 – the fastest serve of her career.
Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of seven. Besides a home in Bradenton, Florida, she also has a residence in Manhattan Beach, California. From 2005 to 2011, Sharapova was named to the Forbes Celebrity 100, which attempts to compile the top 100 most powerful celebrities of that year. Sharapova made varying remarks on how long she intends to maintain her tennis career. Following the retirement of 25-year-old Justine Henin in 2008, Sharapova said, "If I [were] 25, and I'd won so many Grand Slams, I'd quit too." In an interview after the 2008 Australian Open, she balked at the idea of playing for another ten years, saying that she hoped to have a "nice husband and a few kids" by then. However, in an interview before her 2012 Australian Open semifinal, Sharapova changed her stance, saying she intended to continue playing tennis for as long as she enjoyed playing the game. Sharapova stated, "I'm sure when I was 17 years old and someone said, you'll be playing for another eight years, it would be like, you're not going to see me at a press conference at 25 years old. But years go on. I missed a year in my career—I didn't play that year. I've said this, just before the tournament, a few weeks before, I woke up, and I was just so happy to be going back on the court. I felt so fresh, full of energy, just with a really good perspective. Times change, obviously. I see myself playing this sport for many more years because it's something that gives me the most pleasure in my life. I think it helps when you know you're good at something, and you can always improve it. It obviously helps with the encouragement."
Following in the footsteps of tennis players who started clothing lines such as Fred Perry and René Lacoste, Sharapova launched her own tennis apparel line, the Nike Maria Sharapova Collection, in 2010. The collection includes dresses that she designed for all the major tournaments, in collaboration with Nike and Cole Haan. She had previously found that the outfits given to her by Nike did not suit her frame and were worn by too many other players. She comes up with design ideas and sketches in a process that begins 18 months before the event and receives royalties from the sale of the collection, of which the corresponding dresses are coordinated to be available simultaneously with the corresponding major tournament. The collection is worn by other WTA players, including Sofia Arvidsson, Eugenie Bouchard, Kai-Chen Chang, Andrea Hlaváčková, Madison Keys, Anastasia Pivovarova as well as junior players such as Indy de Vroome. Sharapova had earlier collaborated with Nike on the little black dress that she wore for her night matches at the 2006 US Open. The dress featured a round crystal studded collar and was inspired by Audrey Hepburn. The dress was well publicized and received but was not mass-produced. Additionally, she designs shoes and handbags for Cole Haan, for which her signature ballerina flats are one of the biggest sellers of the entire brand.
Sharapova participated in the first Grand Slam of the season at the Australian Open, where she was the 14th seed, but lost to Andrea Petkovic in the fourth round. She also had to pull out of the 2011 Dubai Tennis Championships and 2011 Qatar Ladies Open because of an ear infection. Sharapova returned to the tour in March by taking part in the 2011 BNP Paribas Open, where she was seeded 16th. She defeated former world No. 1 Dinara Safina, in the fourth round en route to the semifinal, where she lost to world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. At the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Sharapova defeated 26th seed Alexandra Dulgheru in the quarterfinals, in a match lasting 3 hours and 28 minutes. In the semifinals, Sharapova took her Australian Open reprisal on Germany's Andrea Petkovic by defeating her. In the final, she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka, despite a late comeback in the second set. With this result, Sharapova returned to the top 10 for the first time since February 2009.
During the clay-court season, Sharapova participated in 2011 Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, where she lost to Dominika Cibulková in the third round, and the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where she was seeded seventh. 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. At the 2011 French Open, Sharapova was seeded seventh. 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.
At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Sharapova had not dropped a set entering the final, before losing to eighth seed Petra Kvitová in straight sets. This marked her first final in over three years at a Grand Slam event. Sharapova started her summer hard-court season at the 2011 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. In a highly anticipated match, Sharapova lost to the eventual champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. In her next event at the 2011 Rogers Cup in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sharapova lost to Galina Voskoboeva in the third round, marking her 100th career loss.
In the 2011 first-round tie, Sharapova played Virginie Razzano of France and lost. Sharapova was supposed to play Alizé Cornet but she was suffering from a viral illness. Teammate Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova played and defeated Cornet to secure the 3–2 win for Russia against France. Sharapova continued to participate in 2012 and helped Russia to a 3–2 win against Spain in the first-round tie. Sharapova defeated Silvia Soler Espinosa in the first rubber, but was unable to play her second rubber due to illness. In 2015, Sharapova helped Russia earn a place in the semifinals after beating Pole Urszula Radwańska in the first tie and her sister Agnieszka Radwańska in the second tie. Sharapova was scheduled to play the semi-final against Germany, however, she withdrew days before the competition. She then joined the team for the final against Czech Republic and won both of her matches, against Petra Kvitová and Karolína Plíšková. Despite the 2 wins by Sharapova, Russia still lost 3–2 after losing the decisive doubles rubber.
In 2011, Sharapova was engaged to Slovenian professional basketball player Sasha Vujačić, with whom she had been in a relationship since 2009. On 31 August 2012, Sharapova confirmed that the pair had ended the engagement and separated earlier that year. Between 2012 and 2015, Sharapova dated Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, and, since 2018, Sharapova has been in a relationship with British businessman Alexander Gilkes.
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. In the final, she played world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in a rematch of the Australian Open final, but lost again in straight sets. Sharapova's next tournament was the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, where she was seeded 2nd and received a bye. In the final, Sharapova lost in straight sets to fifth seed Agnieszka Radwańska. This was her third loss of the year in finals out of four tournaments played so far. In the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Sharapova was seeded second. She had a bye in the first round, and advanced to the third round after Alizé Cornet retired in the second set. 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 2012 Mutua Madrid Open, a premier mandatory event. In the third round, Sharapova's opponent Lucie Šafářová was unable to compete and withdrew from the tournament, earning Sharapova a walkover into the quarterfinals. She was then beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams in straight sets.
At the 2013 French Open, Sharapova reached the final again, beating Azarenka in three sets in the semifinals, but there she lost in straight sets to Serena Williams. At Wimbledon she was comprehensively beaten in the second round by qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito. Sharapova then returned to the tour at the 2013 Western & Southern Open, where she lost her opening match to Sloane Stephens in three sets. A week later Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing a shoulder injury, which prematurely ended her season.
However, since her shoulder operation Sharapova was unable to control her serve. This led to numerous faults, as she was unable to feel how much power she was generating. The new action led to an elbow injury, and, although under Thomas Högstedt it improved, it could still be erratic. This improvement in serving can be seen in the 2013 Australian Open and following tournaments where Sharapova committed fewer double faults than in previous years. From 2018 through to the end of her career, Sharapova's serve became a major liability, regularly serving between 5 and 10 double faults per match.
Sharapova had multiple coaches throughout her career including Robert Lansdorp, Yuri Sharapov, Michael Joyce in 2004–11, Jimmy Connors in 2013, Sven Groeneveld in 2013–18, Thomas Högstedt in 2011–13, 2018–19, and Riccardo Piatti in 2019–2020.
Sugarpova is a range of confectionery created by Sharapova and Jeff Rubin, founder of international retailer IT'SUGAR. According to the Sugarpova website, "Sugarpova is a premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side of international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova." A portion of all proceeds goes to the Maria Sharapova Foundation, Sharapova's charity. Sugarpova was launched worldwide in 2013. In February 2016, Sugarpova announced that it had partnered with Polish company Baron Chocolatier to make Sugarpova Premium Chocolates. Sugarpova also plans to extend its range to lifestyle products.
Following a failed drug test from the 2016 Australian Open, in which she tested positive for meldonium, a substance that had been banned, effective January 1, 2016 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Sharapova was provisionally suspended from competitive tennis with effect from March 12. On June 8 she was banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation. Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has implied that Sharapova was targeted due to the political crisis in Russian-American relations. In October 2016, Sharapova's ban was reduced from 24 months (2 years) to 15 months, starting from 26 January 2016, the date of the drug test she had failed.
On 7 March 2016, Sharapova revealed that she had failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open, which she described as the result of an oversight. Sharapova admitted to testing positive for meldonium, an anti-ischemic drug usually prescribed for heart conditions that was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s banned substances list on 1 January 2016. Sharapova was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) from playing tennis effective from March 12, 2016. She later released a statement regarding the test and explaining her use of the medicine:
Sharapova said that she had been taking the drug to treat magnesium deficiency, an irregular EKG and family history of diabetes, and indicated that she had not read an email informing her that meldonium had been banned for use in tennis. Meldonium's addition was outlined on a WADA and United States Anti-Doping Agency summary document and it has been reported that all tennis players were warned five times that it was due to be banned. On March 11, 2016, Sharapova denied reports about the five missed warnings via Facebook:
Sharapova returned to the WTA tour in April 2017. She was given wild cards to compete in the following three WTA tournaments: Women's Stuttgart Open, Madrid Open and Italian Open. She played her first match of her comeback on April 26 at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, a tournament that she had previously won on three occasions. Her first round opponent was Italian Roberta Vinci, who she went on to defeat in straight sets to advance to the second round, making it her first victory since her return. In her on-court interview Sharapova said, "The first few seconds before you enter the arena – it's been a stage of mine since I was a young girl – I've been waiting for this moment for a long time." She followed it up with another straight sets victory over countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova in the second round. In the quarterfinals, she defeated qualifier Anett Kontaveit in straight sets, before losing to Kristina Mladenovic in the semifinals.
Sharapova then took part in the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open where she beat Mirjana Lučić-Baroni in three sets. Sharapova played a second round encounter with Eugenie Bouchard which after three sets Sharapova lost. In the 2017 Internazionali BNL d'Italia opening match she defeated Christina McHale in straight sets. In her next match, she again faced the 16th seed Mirjana Lučić-Baroni in a rematch of their encounter in Madrid. At one set apiece, Sharapova needed a medical timeout for her thigh, which ultimately forced her to retire in the third set. Just before the players came on court, French Federation president Bernard Giudicelli announced that Sharapova would not be receiving a wildcard in the main draw or the qualifying draw, preventing her from playing in the 2017 French Open.
Sharapova's autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far was published on 12 September 2017, by Sarah Crichton Books.
That defeat to Vekic in Melbourne would prove to be Sharapova's final match of her career, as on 26 February 2020, Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis. In an essay in Vanity Fair, Sharapova wrote: "I'm new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I'm saying goodbye. But as I embark on my next chapter, I want anyone who dreams of excelling in anything to know that doubt and judgement are inevitable. You will fail hundreds of times and the world will watch you. Accept it. Trust yourself. I promise you that you will prevail."
Currently, Maria Sharapova is 34 years, 6 months and 6 days old. Maria Sharapova will celebrate 35th birthday on a Tuesday 19th of April 2022.
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