Maria Sharapova's parents, Yuri and Elena, are from Gomel,
Belarus. Concerned about the regional effects of the 1986
Chernobyl nuclear accident, they left their homeland shortly
before Sharapova was born.
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 world no. 1 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. She took her first tennis lessons
with veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin, who was instantly
impressed when he saw her play, noting her "exceptional
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, which they finally did 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 dishwashing,
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.
WTT Newport Beach Breakers - Maria Sharapova Photoshoot
press image for big size
Maria Sharapova born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player. As of February 25, 2013 she is ranked world no. 3.
Follow live: Stroud, Ohio State seek to extend series win streak vs. rival Michigan
Sources: Flu outbreak hits Sparty ahead of PSU
No. 12 Michigan State is battling a flu outbreak ahead of its regular-season finale against Penn State, sources told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, with some players likely to try to play through symptoms.
Sources: M's getting All-Star Frazier from Padres
The Mariners are trading for All-Star second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier in a deal with the Padres, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Dariush, Makhachev agree to UFC clash in Feb.
UFC lightweights Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev have agreed to meet in a 155-pound, five-round contest on Feb. 26.
Duke picks up ailing Banchero, tops No. 1 Zags
Duke got just one point from Paolo Banchero in the second half, but showcased its depth to earn a signature win over No. 1 Gonzaga on Friday night.
Panarin fined $5K for throwing glove at Marchand
New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin has been fined $5,000 for throwing one of his gloves at Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand.
LeBron fined for gesture, warned on profanity use
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was fined $15,000 for making an obscene gesture in Wednesday night's win over the Pacers.
Red Sox agree to 1-year, $7M deal with Wacha
The Boston Red Sox have signed Michael Wacha to a $7 million, one-year deal, adding the right-hander to an already thin rotation that lost Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency.
Sources: Mets land Marte for 4 years, add depth
Starling Marte agreed to a four-year, $78M deal, Eduardo Escobar agreed to a 2-year, $20M deal while Mark Canha is nearing a deal for two years and $26.5M with a third-year option.
What we learned from Friday's elite-level college basketball showcase
Duke took down No. 1 Gonzaga in a championship-caliber top-5 matchup in Las Vegas on Friday night.
Week 12's biggest questions: NFL reporters give advice
What should we expect from Saquon Barkley? In Derrick Henry's continued absence, is there an RB1 in Tennessee? Our reporters weigh in.
What to know for NFL Week 12: Score picks, bold predictions, fantasy tips, key stats and more
What to watch for in every game. Bold predictions. Fantasy advice. Key stats to know. And, of course, final score picks. It's all here for Week 12.
From Mac Jones to Zach Wilson, inside the success and growing pains of the 10 NFL rookie QBs
Jones has the Patriots on a roll while some other rookie QBs are struggling. NFL Nation assesses all 10 first-year signal callers, and looks at what's ahead.
'Not going to lie, I just wanted to spank you': How Brooks routed Bryson
Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau finally took their feud to the golf course. It didn't go well for DeChambeau.
Millions lost, lawsuits everywhere and eight date changes: How a typical title defense for Teofimo Lopez went sideways
COVID, scheduling conflicts and financial quarrels were just a few of the elements that worked to delay Saturday's lightweight title fight.
George Kambosos Jr. ready to 'shock the world' in fight with Teofimo Lopez
Kambosos said his focus has never wavered despite a drama-filled journey to a world title fight.
Jota shines as Liverpool rout Southampton at Anfield
Liverpool were assured and confident in Saturday's win over Southampton, with Diogo Jota continuing his excellent form with two of the four goals.
Saka leads second-half charge in Arsenal win
Arsenal persevered in the face of a stubborn Newcastle United side to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Kyle Kuzma's unique pregame outfits have been on full display
The Washington Wizards' star's memorable week in fashion started with a now-iconic oversized pink sweater and ended with a puffy coat.
Violent dust storms and 135 miles: Inside the world's most impossible run
Kelaine Conochan ran through desert and darkness, from below sea level through three mountain ranges, in temperatures north of 100 degrees. She ate pickles and guzzled Coke. But this journey wasn't about toughness.
What the numbers say about an 11-2 Alabama and its College Football Playoff chances
College football's biggest question might not be what to do with Cincinnati but what to do with an 11-2 Alabama team.
NFL betting nuggets: Hottest favorite meets best underdog
Notes and trends heading into the biggest games of the weekend.
Survey says ... Seager to the Yanks? The Tigers all-in? MLB execs, insiders weigh in
We asked team officials to predict this winter's biggest free-agent signings, trades and more.
Real Madrid vs. Sevilla a salve for LaLiga's struggles in the UEFA Champions League
It's not looking good for Spanish football in the Champions League, and there are many reasons for it, but it might be OK in the end.
Conference semifinals preview and predictions
We break down and predict all four of this week's conference semifinal matchups.
Transfer Talk: Barcelona eye Manchester City trio Sterling, Silva, Torres
Talks over a new deal for Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain are "at a stalemate." Transfer Talk is LIVE with the latest.
Mobley, Cunningham, Barnes and an NBA rookie class to be thankful for
This season's crop of NBA rookies is so strong, it has flipped conventional wisdom on its head in fantasy leagues. John Cregan explains, then details the five rookies he's most thankful for.