Maria Sharapova Undressed
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (pronunciation: shah-RAH-puh-vuh, born April 19, 1987) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player and the world's highest-paid female athlete.
Sharapova has won two Grand Slam singles titles during her career. She is the reigning U.S. Open champion, winning the 2006 title over Justine Henin-Hardenne. Two years earlier, she won the 2004 Wimbledon Championships over Serena Williams.
Sharapova's parents are originally from Gomel, Belarus, and moved to Siberia, Russia in 1986, after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. She was born in Nyagan, Russia, the following year.
At age 7, Sharapova was brought to the United States by her father to attend the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Her mother followed a few years later.
Sharapova has lived in the United States since she was a child, but retains Russian citizenship.
Sharapova recently purchased a beach-front home in Manhattan Beach, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. The majority of the year, she can be found living close to her training facility (IMG) in Longboat Key, Fl.
At 19, Sharapova has yet to finish high school.
In April 2005, she was listed by People Magazine as among the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world.
In 2006, Maxim magazine named her the hottest athlete in the world, an award she has won four consecutive years.
In February 2006, she was featured in a six-page bikini photoshoot spread in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue annual magazine which debuted on Valentine's Day, along with 25 other scantily-clad supermodels. Sharapova joined the ranks of other athletes who have previously appeared in the publication.
Never one to stay quiet on court, perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Sharapova's game is her trademark on-court "grunting" or "screaming." Quite possibly the loudest female screamer since Monica Seles, a London tabloid is reported to have claimed that "her persistent shrieks topped out at 102 decibels" (as loud as a police siren). Sharapova claims that this is just part of her game and that only the British press give her a hard time about it. Elena Dementieva, Sharapova's opponent in a 2006 Wimbledon quarterfinal, complained about the distraction it causes. Later in US Open, Tatiana Golovin said: "Shrieking is not going to make the tennis ball come to me faster."
Sharapova is the only Russian female player with more than one Grand Slam singles title.