Maria Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987. She is a Russian professional tennis player. She was born in the Siberian town of Nyagan, where her parents moved from Gomel to escape from the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly before Sharapova was born. Old grandmother of the tennis-player Galina Demjanovna Sharapova lives in Gomel to the present time.
When Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi. There her father befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and become Russia's first number one world-ranked tennis player, Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet at the age of four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park.
Maria Sharapova and her parents.
At the age of six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri borrowed the sum that would enable him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States and they finally did it in 1994. Visa restrictions prevented Sharapova's mother from joining them for two years. Arriving in Florida with savings of US$700, Sharapova's father took various low-paying jobs, including dish-washing, to fund her lessons until she was old enough to be admitted to the academy. In 1995, she was signed by IMG, who agreed to pay the annual tuition fee of $35,000 for Sharapova to stay at the academy, allowing her to finally enroll at the age of 9.
Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova with medals 2012, London.
As of October 8, 2012 she is ranked World No. 2. Sharapova has won 27 WTA singles titles, including four Grand Slam singles titles. She has also won the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2004. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked Sharapova World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and regained the ranking for the fifth time on June 11, 2012. She has been in seven Grand Slam finals with a record of 4–3.
Tops sports glory she achieved in the U.S., in favor of Russia, but does not forget its historic homeland. As a Goodwill Ambassador of the UN, Maria twice expending large sums to help children and young people from the Chernobyl area. In 2007 - 100 000 and in 2008 - 210 thousand dollars.
Sharapova with children in Gomel, an area affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.