Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova - ultimate tennis champion and astute businesswoman

Maria Sharapova has long been a dominant force on the tennis court and in the business world. An extraordinary tennis champion and astute businesswoman, her career is nothing short of inspirational.


Born on April 19, 1987 in Nyagan, Russia, she took up tennis at the age of 4. Encouraged by her father, Yuri Sharapov, she quickly showed an aptitude for the sport. Recognizing her potential, her family moved to the United States in 1994, when she was 7. With only a few hundred dollars in their pockets, they embarked on their American dream, which would lead to Maria's meteoric rise in the world of tennis.

Her talent attracted the attention of the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida, where she honed her skills under the tutelage of renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. Maria's dedication and hard work paid off: she turned professional at just 14.


Her professional career took off when she won her first WTA title at the 2003 AIG Japan Open. However, it was her astonishing victory over Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2004 that catapulted her into the limelight. At just 17, she became the third youngest player to win the prestigious Grand Slam tournament.

Her success goes on and on. She won five Grand Slam titles, including the US Open (2006), Australian Open (2008) and French Open (2012 and 2014). Her powerful game, relentless work ethic and mental strength helped her rise to the top of the world rankings on several occasions.


But building her career has not been without difficulty. Sharapova has faced many challenges, including injuries, doping scandals and setbacks. However, her resilience and determination have enabled her to overcome every obstacle. When she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in 2016, she received a two-year suspension, later reduced to 15 months after a successful appeal. Sharapova, head held high, owned up to her mistake, took responsibility and came back stronger for it. Her return to professional tennis in 2017 was met with mixed reactions, but she proved her mettle once again by winning the 2017 Tianjin Open.


In February 2020, she announced her retirement from professional tennis, leaving behind a remarkable legacy. Throughout her career, she won 36 WTA titles and was world number one for 21 weeks. She also won the silver medal for Russia at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Her exploits on the court have made her a household name and an inspiration to future tennis players the world over.


But her ambitions extend far beyond the tennis court. Indeed, she has demonstrated a keen business sense from an early age, and has capitalized on her celebrity by securing lucrative sponsorship deals with major brands such as Nike, Porsche and Evian. According to Forbes, she was the highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years, earning around $285 million over the course of her career.


In 2012, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to set up her own candy company, "Sugarpova". The high-end candy brand quickly gained popularity thanks to its creative flavors, fun packaging and Sharapova's hands-on involvement. Today, Sugarpova is sold in over 20 countries, and has expanded its product range to include chocolates and gum. Sugarpova's success has enabled Maria to diversify even further, exploring collaborations and investments in various industries.

In 2018, she co-founded the high-end sun protection brand "Supergoop!" with a focus on skin health and sun safety. Her interest in health and wellness extended to her investment in the technology-based wellness company "Therabody", known for its innovative percussion therapy devices.

She is also a strategic advisor to the UFC Performance Institute, where she shares her knowledge and experience of elite sports performance. In addition, she is a mentor and investor for the Women's Entrepreneurship Day organization (WEDO), which aims to strengthen and support women entrepreneurs worldwide.


Always passionate about giving back and using her influence to make a positive impact, she dedicates part of her life to philanthropy. She notably is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program, and focuses on Chernobyl reconstruction projects in her native Russia.


In 2007, she created the Maria Sharapova Foundation, which supports various causes, including children's education and sports programs. In partnership with the United Nations, the foundation funds scholarships for students from Chernobyl-affected regions, enabling them to pursue higher education. Sharapova has also taken part in numerous fundraising events for disaster relief, cancer research and other charitable causes.


Maria Sharapova's journey from humble beginnings to iconic tennis champion and successful businesswoman is a testament to her unwavering determination, resilience and ambition. Her legacy extends beyond her exploits on the court, and is a source of inspiration to countless people around the world. As she continues to thrive in the business world and remains committed to philanthropy, her story is an enduring example of what hard work and dedication can achieve.


➡️ How Maria Sharapova Celebrates Being A Power Woman


© Photo Right: Brian Minkoff-London Pixels - CC BY-SA 3.0 / Photo left: John Russo Photography, Sugarpova and GEO Souls - Nawbo

© Article by Julie Henry Poutrel for Adama Toulon.