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Maria Sharapova (Tennis Player)
Maria Sharapova was born in Siberia, Russia, in 1987. She led a charge of Russian players who came to achieve great success in the women’s game. She has also brought her own brand of glamour to tennis by designing her own unique tennis outfits. At the 2007 US Open she wore a dress with over 600 crystals sewn into it.

Sharapova got her first tennis racket when she was four from the father of Grand Slam winner Yevgeny Kafelnikov. At the age of six, Maria attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova. Navratilova recognized her talent and recommended that she go to the USA to study at a famous tennis academy in Florida.

Maria moved to the USA with her father in 1994. Neither of them could speak English. They had very little money and went to the tennis academy by bicycle every day. She described it as being a tough time. She turned professional in 2001 and a year later became the youngest girl ever to reach the junior final at Wimbledon.

Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, when she was 17. She is one of several top players who are known for loud on-court grunting. When reporters asked her about this in 2006, she told them to “put your grunt-o-meters down…and just watch the match”. Sharapova has been the world’s highest paid sportswoman and the women’s number one several times.
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