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Sunday, September 10, 2006

All about Sharapova: The New Queen of US Open Tennis

By: Biplob Kishore Deb

Sharapova, the most popular name at present roaming around in the tennis world, has just defeated Justine Henin Hardenne in the final of the US Open a few hours in the way of her second Grand Slam title in her short career. Sharapova first came to light in 2004 after winning her first Grand Slam title at the age of 17.

Image Link: ESPNSTAR

Maria Sharapova was born in April 19, 1987 at Nyagan in Russia. She started playing tennis at the very early age. Her attraction to tennis started at her age 4 when she met with father of tennis champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov. She got a racket form him and makes it her friend from that age. Later at the age of 6 she played in an exhibition match against the Martina Navratilova, the then world number one, and having seen the talent of a six year old girl, Navratilova suggested her father to take her to the famous tennis coach Nick Bollettieri in Florida. She along with her father finally went to the tennis academy of Bollettieri when she was just 9 but her mother could not go with her as she was refused to give visa. She and her father faced some financial problems and language problems in the USA. I am quoting from an article to illustrate that condition:

“Yuri took his daughter to the U.S. without knowing a word of English and with less than $1,000 in his pocket. IMG, the sports management company, agreed to sponsor Maria and put up the $35,000 US per year it costs to stay at the Bollettieri Academy. Not knowing any English either, she was very shy and introverted. While her father took odd jobs, Maria moved into the school dorm when she was 9. Sharing a room with three older girls, she quickly learned the language. Still, it was hard on her, especially since her mother, Yelena, remained in Russia because she couldn't get the proper visa.”

She was determined to get success in the world tennis and in 2001 she entered in the professional career with the junior tennis. From the debut year she started doing well gradually in WTA competitions. In her debut year she won 25 matches while lost just in the three and won three titles. It is very interesting that Sharapova has never been to school in her life. After the arrival of her mother two years later, she took the responsibility to teach Sharapova.

Image Link: http://www.sharapova.org.uk/graphics/rome_hotels_maria_will_be_there_2006.jpg

Sharapova’s second successive year in her career was as successful as first when she again won three titles with the record of 26-3. Sharapova started playing in the major championships in 2003 and joined in the WTA tour. She could give a message that the next queen of the world tennis is coming. She has been awarded the WTA Newcomer of the year.

It was until 2004, the world could not imagine the giant step of a new comer. After winning the Wimbledon, Sharapova could turn all the focus on her. She became the WTA Player of the Year, 2004. Though she could not win any Grand Slamin 2005, she became the World no. one in the WTA ranking in August. In 2005, she was awarded the Master of Sports of Russia title. Sharapova is now at the number four in the list of WTA ranking. Her win-loss record is also praiseworthy and that is 214-54. She won 13 career titles in her career. Her prize money is as lucrative as her appearance which is $7,917,274.

This glamorous and fashionable tennis star is often compared with her native tennis glamour girl Ana Kournikova in terms of her good looking appearance. She has blond hair and this 6 feet tall teenager has been the person of to be flashed of by their fans and journalists. It is worthless to say that Maria is also in the way of her fellow countrywomen Kournikova as she ahs also entered in modeling but the performance in the court can easily apart them. Maria has already become the highest paid women athlete in the world. I am quoting some lines from an article regarding off court activities:

“She does photo shoots once in a while but her priority is tennis. Besides, she doesn't need the money, as she has very lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, NEC and Prince.”

Image Link: http://www.celebopedia.com/maria-sharapova/images/maria-sharapova.jpg

Another article says:

She often takes modeling jobs and works on her endorsements, the likes of which include Motorola, Canon and Honda Japan. The attractive six-foot-tall blond often draws comparisons to fellow Russian tennis-pro-turned-model Anna Kournikova, but her skills on the court are what set the two apart.

2005 finds Sharapova on pace to take in over $20 million, most of which will come from her endorsements--the most recent a three-year $6 million deal with Colgate-Palmolive.”

It is now very easy to make a comment on the popularity of the Sharapova after she won the US Open. No doubt, Sharapova is now having the possibility to rule the tennis world. What is your opinion?

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