Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player. Maria Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987, in Nyagan, Russian SFSR.
Maria’s First Coach
The young tennis player got her first coach when she was about eleven, signing with Robert Lansdorp, who had a history of coaching and guiding careers of winners including Tracy Austin (1962), who was a winner of two U.S. Open titles and Lindsay Davenport (1976), who won three Grand Slam matches from 1998 and 2000.
First Endorsement Deal With Nike
Maria Sharapova was recognized by sponsors for her marketing potential at a very young age. In June 1997, when she was just 11 years old, Nike signed her to her first endorsement deal.
Early Career In 2000
Sharapova’s first match was in November 2000, when she played in the girls 16 division at just 13 years of age and won the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championship. She was given a special award, the Rising Star Award, which is only presented to players with exceptional promise and outstanding capabilities.
Sharapova made her professional debut on her 14th birthday in 2001 and played the first WTA tournament of her life at the Pacific Life Open in 2002, where she won a match before losing to Monica Seles. She could only play a limited number of professional events that year so she came back to junior tournaments to perfect her skills.
Return To Junior Tournaments
On her return to junior tournaments, Sharapova played in the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2002. Not only did she play these tournaments, but she also progressed exceptionally and reached the finals of both. At age of just 14 years and 9 months, she was the youngest of any girls to reach the Junior Championship of the Australian Open.