A greatly applauded tennis champion, Maria Sharapova is best known for being the first Russian woman champion of Wimbledon and a silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Young Sharapova
Although born in Russia, Sharapova spent considerable time in the US, moving to Florida at the age of 9, to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. During her training, Sharapova showed promise in winning competitions. She went pro at 14 and ended as a runner-up at the junior Wimbledon and French Open in 2002.
Making Her Mark in the Tennis World
Sharapova tasted the first whip of championship at the 2003 AIG Japan Open. In the same year, she managed to reach the 4th round of Wimbledon, an amazing feat for a first-time participant. Then, the following year, she became the first Russian woman to win the singles titles at Wimbledon. This win would be followed by the WTA Championships title. Sharapova quickly rose in ranks, and in 2006, she added the US Open to her growing list of Grand Slam titles.
A stumble in her shining career
Sharapova’s career progress slowed down in 2007 and 2008 due to shoulder problems. Nevertheless, she won another title at the 2008 Australian Open. Given her condition, Sharapova had surgery and was crossed out from the Top 100 list for the time being.
Strong return: the Sharapova power
After her surgery, Sharapova struggled to recover her former glory, but she finally rose to the Top 20 again in 2009. Two years after, she was ranked no. 4 in the world. Then, in 2012, she finally got her game back winning the French Open finals against Sara Errani. This championship marked her career as the 10th woman to win the 4 major tournaments. At the same time, Sharapova was once hailed again as the #1 player in the world.
Sharapova also grabbed the opportunity to play at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games though she lost the gold medal to Serena Williams. She played at the 2013 French Open and was a runner up. Unfortunately, her shoulder pains came back, preventing her from playing further in the rest of the tennis season.
Sharapova once more made a strong comeback by winning the French Open in 2014 and played at the Australian Open final and US Open final in 2015.
A career slap: Sharapova’s drug issue and suspension
Despite having a long list of championship titles, Sharapova’s career will always be tarnished by her failed drug test at the Australian Open in 2016. Her drug test results were positive for Mildronate, which contains an active ingredient (meldonium) that is included in the prohibited list of World Anti-Doping Agency.
Sharapova claimed that she was unaware that the drug, which she had been legally taking for the past decade, was recently included in the prohibited drug list. She was punished with a two-year suspension by the International Tennis Federation, which she contested and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In the end, the suspension was reduced to 15 months.
Sharapova will always come back
After her suspension, Sharapova proved again that she would always rise from the ashes. She joined the Porsche Tennis Gran Prix in April 2017 and won the Tianjin Open in October of the same year. She also rose again in the ranks, reaching the top 30 by 2018. To date, Sharapova continues in showing her passion for tennis, proving that redemption is possible after her controversy-laden career slump.