Maria Sharapova: Rising on Her Father’s Shoulders & Stepping into the Arena of Adversity

A peaceful childhood

Standing in the press conference room at the Los Angeles hotel yesterday afternoon (local time), Maria Sharapova wore a watch worth more than $1 million and a designer outfit worth more than $300,000.

She drives a Bentley, lives in a villa worth 7 million USD and above all has assets of more than 30 million USD in the bank.

Sharapova owns the life of a queen in America, and how perfect it would all be if the story she told in the press conference room was not explanations and apologies about her positive reaction to the virus. doping substances.

From the poor countryside of Gomel, near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, to the splendid press conference room is a very long way.

Masha of course rose to the top of tennis thanks to her own abilities, but for her to fall in love with tennis, Sharapova’s father, Yuri, had to sacrifice almost his entire youth.


Sharapova’s family originally lived in Gomel (Belarus), but worried that the Chernobyl disaster would adversely affect the health of the princess still in her mother’s womb, Masha’s father, Mr. Yuri, decided to move to Nyagan, ( Siberia, Russia) in 1987, the year Sharapova was born.

Sharapova’s family’s life is not abundant, if not relatively difficult and struggling. But Sharapova’s childhood in her memory is a series of peaceful days in her parents’ arms.

“My childhood was the days when in the morning my family could swim in the Dead Sea, in the afternoon go to the mountains for a walk and at night ski on that mountain,” Sharapova confided.

No one thought Sharapova would play tennis until the day she was given a tennis racket by a friend of her father, Aleksandr Kafelnikov (whose son is Yevgeny, the first Russian player to be number 1 in the world).

It’s just a racket that has been shortened to make it suitable for children. That year, Masha was 4 years old.


Starting to love tennis at the age of 4, Masha and her father have gone through a long journey to reach the top.

The passion for tennis comes naturally to Sharapova. During her free time, Masha used that racket to practice hitting the ball against the house wall. Realizing his daughter’s hobby, Mr. Yuri started practicing tennis with his daughter at the park.

Going to work in the morning and going to the park to play tennis with his daughter in the evening, in Sharapova’s memory, her father was always in a state of extreme fatigue, but for the sake of his daughter’s joy, he never complained.

Then, through personal relationships, Yuri asked Sharapova to learn tennis systematically with teacher Yuri Yutkin.

In 1993, a match made in heaven came to Masha, when she caught the attention of the legendary Martina Navratilova thanks to just a few performances in a small tournament in Moscow.

Navratilova suggested that Masha should join the Nick Bollettieri academy in Florida, USA – the place that trained Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, or Anna Kournikova.


The Russian female tennis player currently owns a huge fortune, but before that, she and Mr. Yuri started their American dream with only 700 USD.

From 700 USD to millionaire

America for Sharapova at that time was a dream. A distant, expensive country is beyond her family’s financial capabilities. Masha never thought she would end up at the Nick Bollettieri academy.

After a few nights of thinking, Mr. Yuri decided to take a big gamble in his life. He borrowed 700 USD from an acquaintance and brought his daughter to America. At that time, due to not being able to get a visa, Masha’s mother, Yelena, remained in Russia.

Masha and her father came to America in 1994, when she was 7 years old. It’s not easy to immediately learn tennis in an expensive place like America. With a capital of only 700 USD, Masha and her father’s first few days in America were truly a nightmare.

Not knowing English and having no money, Mr. Yuri took any job that could make money. During the day he washes dishes, and in the evening he works part-time for Russians living in America.

But Yuri’s efforts were still not enough for her only daughter to be accepted into Nick Bollettieri Academy. Masha is too young to receive training here.

She had to temporarily go to Rick Macci Academy, practice tennis every day, and Mr. Yuri worked hard to earn money, simply so that he and his daughter could have 3 meals a day.


Maria Sharapova started her career in America with many difficulties.

According to Mr. Yuri’s description, Sharapova’s first years in America were not easy, even when she learned professional tennis.

“Masha doesn’t know English. I still remember that in the first month, he could only say one word: Cat. My 7-year-old daughter had to be separated from her mother, which was also a huge difficulty for Masha,” Mr. Yuri said.

In an interview on Daily Mail, Sharapova said that after 2 years in the US, her mother finally received a visa to reunite her family. That was the time when Mrs. Yelena Sharapova poured all her love and care into her daughter.

“My mother asked me to take ballet lessons, drawing lessons, or simply learn some art. She is the one who reminds me to complete my homework every day, and is the last person next to my bed before I sleep.

My mother also taught that a woman must be beautiful, even when I play sports. That’s why after I became famous, I always accepted to represent beauty brands.

My mother always wanted to see me looking beautiful in the newspapers. When she was young, she was the most beautiful person in the village,” Sharapova rarely talked about her mother.


Throughout her childhood journey until she joined the world of tennis superstars, Maria Sharapova always grew up on her father’s back and in her mother’s arms.

Her father sacrificed everything so his daughter could go to America and her mother was the person who, according to Masha’s description, brought her to the civilized world, helping her have the right perspective.

Although Masha rose to the top thanks to her own abilities, during her journey to later huge fortunes, her life met with a lot of luck.

From her family, to her relationship with her agent Max Eisenbud, the first person Masha met when entering the Nick Bollettieri academy, Sharapova has never lacked affection or launching pads.

Unfortunately, when she was at the peak of her career, she single-handedly ruined everything. Some people agree with Sharapova, some oppose Sharapova, but in general, Masha herself admitted that she was wrong.

From a loan of 700 USD to a millionaire with assets of tens of millions of dollars is a very long journey for Sharapova. It’s just a pity that the ending was not happy for Russian Doll.

During her tennis career, Maria Sharapova was ranked number 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 5 times, with a total reign of 21 weeks.

Currently, she is ranked 7th, before being suspended from competition (duration unknown).

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