Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player and a former World No. 1. As of November 19, 2007, she is the fifth-ranked female player in the world. At the end of 2006, she was the world's highest-paid female athlete.
Her family name in English is often stressed on third syllable (Sharapóva), whereas the original Russian is stressed on the second syllable (Sharápova), and in other countries even on the first syllable (Shárapova).
Sharapova has won two Grand Slam singles titles. She is a former U.S. Open champion, having defeated Justine Henin in the final of the 2006 U.S. Open. Two years earlier, she defeated Serena Williams in the final at Wimbledon.
In 2006 Sharapova signed a lifetime endorsment deal with Prince Sports, Inc., a longtime sponsor of Sharapova. She currently plays with the O3 White racquet.
Sharapova's parents moved from Homel, Belarus, to Siberia, Russia, in 1986, after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. She was born the following year in Nyagan, Russia.
Sharapova's father, Yuri Sharapov, brought Maria to the United States to attend the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida when she was 7 years old. She speaks accentless English. Her mother, Yelena, who could not come with them because of visa restrictions, followed a few years later. Sharapova has lived in the United States since then but retains her Russian citizenship.
Until recently, Sharapova lived most of the year near the IMG training facility in Bradenton with her pomeranian, Dolce, who is featured in one of her advertisements for Canon PowerShot. She has moved to Southern California.
Sharapova is good friends with other tennis players on the WTA tour: childhood friend and fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko, French player Tatiana Golovin, Serbian player Jelena Jankovic, and Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova. She has called actress Camilla Belle her best friend.