On the Court
Turned pro in 2001, playing one ITF event. Made tour debut as a wild card at Indian Wells in 2002, making the second round and losing to Monica Seles. Won three straight ITF events to earn a wild card at Tokyo, but lost in the first round.
Won three qualifying matches at the Australian Open to reach the main draw in 2003. Did the same at the French Open, then came alive at Birmingham, going from a qualifier to the event's semifinals, upsetting three players in the top 35, including No. 15 Elena Dementieva. Jumped into the Top 100 at No. 91. Earned a main draw wildcard to Wimbledon and reached the fourth round, defeating three players in the Top 40 to climb to No. 56. Reached the second round of the US Open and the quarterfinals at Shanghai to reach the Top 50. As the No. 5 seed at Tokyo, won her first WTA title, defeating Aniko Kapros. Finished the year by winning Quebec City to amass at 38-13 record.
Reached the third round of the Australian Open to begin 2004,and did the same at both Indian Wells and Miami. Back-to-back third round appearances at Berlin and Rome pushed her into the Top 20 for the first time at No. 19. Was very impressive at the French Open, not losing a set in her first four matches, reaching the quarterfinals to move up to No. 15. Followed this with a win at Birmingham, then took the tennis world by storm, entering Wimbledon as the No. 13 seed.
She upset No. 5 Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals after dropping the first set, then defeated Serena Williams in straight sets in the final to win her first Grand Slam title, vaulting to No. 8 in the process. Added a title at Seoul and repeated at Tokyo. Qualified for the tour championships for the first time and went 2-1 in round-robin play, then defeated Anastasia Myskina in the semifinals and Serena Williams for the title, finishing the breakout season 55-15.
Began 2005 ranked No. 4 in the world and lived up to the billing, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open before losing to Williams. Won Tokyo and Doha back to back to move up to No. 3. Lost the Miami final to Kim Clijsters, but still moved up to No. 2 in the world. Defended her title at Birmingham, but lost in the semifinals at Wimbledon to Venus Williams. Lost to Clijsters in the semifinals of the US Open and fell to Amelie Mauresmo in the semifinals of the tour champions to end the year 53-12.
The 2006 season started with another trip to the Australian Open semifinals, falling to Justine Henin. She won Indian Wells, reached the Miami final, then fell in the semifinals at Wimbledon to No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo. She bounced back to win San Diego, then hit her stride at the US Open, knocking off Mauresmo in the semifinals and Henin in the final to win her second Grand Slam title, sending her up to No. 3 in the world again. She followed with wins at Zurich and Linz to reach No. 2 in the world, then fell to Henin in the semifinals of the tour championships, ending her best year to date at 59-9.
The start of 2007 saw Sharapova just miss winning back-to-back Grand Slams, falling to her nemesis, Serena Williams, in the Australian Open final. Despite the loss, she took over as the No. 1 player in the world and held it until late May, when she was bounced in the third round at Istanbul. She followed with a trip to the French Open semifinals, defended her title at San Diego, but was upset in the third round of the US Open to drop back to No. 4. She fell all the way to sixth before the tour championships, where she reached the final but lost to Henin.
After just missing the Australian Open title in 2007, Sharapova added it to her resume in 2008, entering as the fifth seed, but knocking out No. 1 Henin in the quarterfinals and defeating Ana Ivanovic for the title. Also won Doha and Amelia Island, but season was cut short at Montreal, and she finished it 32-4.
Returned to the tour at last in May of 2009 at Warsaw, by which time she had dropped to No. 126 in the world, but won her first match coming back. In just her second tournament back, she reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, taking out No. 11 Nadia Petrova in the second round and No. 25 Li Na in the fourth round. Followed that with a trip to the Birmingham semifinals to climb all the way to No. 60 in the world. During the US Open series, she reached the final at Toronto, then claimed her first title in more than a full calendar year when she won Tokyo over Jelena Jankovic, leaping all the way to No. 15. Ended the season 31-9, essentially her second straight half season.
Was shocked in the first round of the Australian Open by No. 58 Maria Kirilenko to start 2010, but returned two weeks later to win Memphis. Added the crown at Strasbourg and reached three more finals, but lost them all to end the season 33-11.
Reached the Miami finals early in 2011, then won Rome in a tour de force romp, defeating No. 4 Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals, No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals and No. 7 Samantha Stosur in the final to complete a climb back into the Top 10 at No. 8. She followed that with a trip to the French Open semifinals to move to No. 6, then reached the Wimbledon finals where she fell to Petra Kvitova to reach No. 5. Stayed hot with a title at Cincinnati to reach No. 4, but went 0-2 in the WTA Championships to end the year 43-14.
Continued her late 2011 surge at the 2012 Australian Open, making the final before losing to Azarenka, but moving up another notch to No. 3. Also lost in the finals of Indian Wells and Miami before notching a win at Stuttgart to jump to No. 2. Also won Rome, then joined the select few Open Era women with a career Grand Slam by taking the crown at Roland Garros, despite facing just one Top 10 player in the two week period. The victory also returned her to No. 1 in the world for the first time since May of 2007. Fell back to No. 3 after falling in the fourth round at Wimbledon, then won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and reached the semifinals of the US Open to return to No. 2, where she finished the season, racking up a 60-11 record, the most wins of her career.
Grand Slam Titles (4): Australian Open: 2008
French Open: 2012
US Open: 2006
Year-End Singles Rankings: 2012: 2
Off the Court
Is the daughter of Yuri and Yelena; Began playing tennis at age six; Is one of the most photographed women in the world; Has done extensive work for the survivors of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, as this is the area of Russia she was originally from. In 2011, she was the highest paid female athlete in the world.