“I was too young to dream big, but I walked the path my father laid out for me” – Maria Sharapova on her father Yuri’s pivotal role in shaping her journey

Maria Sharapova moved to the United States with her father Yuri at the young age of six, but visa issues kept her mother, Yelena, from joining them for the first two years in the country.

Maria Sharapova was coached by her dad from a young age.

Sharapova was initially coached by her father, who took up odd gigs to support the family. Understandably, the youngster’s formative years were influenced by Yuri’s vision.

During her latest appearance on ‘The Deal with Alex Rodriguez and Jason Kelly’ podcast, Sharapova acknowledged her father’s contribution to her career. The Russian said she was too young to have big goals of her own and thus took the path that her father had laid for her.

“I knew that what I was doing, um, was different to other families, to other children,” Sharapova said (at 4:00). “I knew that I had a different path and I, and I was living, it was a dream.”
“I had a very clear vision and so did my mother and my father. My father, particularly because he was my coach for many years and it was, you know, his big goals. I was too young to really have those big goals, but I followed this road that he paved for me,” she continued.

Sharapova, who won Wimbledon at the young age of 17 after defeating the legendary Serena Williams, said she had begun to realize that the dream was becoming a reality and could manage all her emotions because of her mental strength.

“I realized very much that this dream was becoming a reality that, you know, you had a choice to make every single day when you wake up to be the best and I was given an incredible gift of, you know, having a strong mind of persistence of focus, at,” Maria Sharapova said (at 4:30).

Maria Sharapova: “I came to the United States as a young girl and I didn’t feel like I always belonged”

Maria Sharapova pictured at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.
Maria Sharapova pictured at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.

Maria Sharapova also recalled her early years during the same interview, saying she did not develop a sense of belonging as a young immigrant, but her parents did not let that affect her.

“I came to the United States as a young girl, and I didn’t feel like I always belonged, but I found that as a gift. I didn’t find that as a disadvantage and it was because of the foundation that my parents had built back home in Russia,” Sharapova said (at 6.00).

The five-time Grand Slam champion said her parents had built a strong foundation back home which gave her the confidence to keep going without worrying about the results.

Sharapova added that she always lived a comfortable life and had loving parents, who provided her with a sense that she would do just fine even if she couldn’t achieve her tennis dreams.

“It was because of the foundation that my parents had built back home in Russia. My mother was very young, still in University but my dad had a decent job. He wasn’t making a lot of money. But, I had a great environment, food on the table. I had great loving parents,” the former World No. 1 said (at 6:10).
“If those were the conditions that I had to go back to, I was okay with and perhaps that gave me the confidence to just keep going, and, hey, if the top didn’t happen to what I envisioned, then it was okay to go back to those humble beginnings,” she continued.

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