The Legendary Maria Sharapova: Transforming the World of Tennis with Beauty

It’s difficult to choose a certain angle to portray Sharapova’s career. Because Sharapova embodies almost everything.

Just about, because there is at least one exception: Sharapova doesn’t have a single real friend among the thousands of female tennis players who have appeared since 2004.
In 2018, when asked about her loneliness, Sharapova calmly replied: “I have no intention of finding friends on the tennis court.”
Sports is life, people have always said that: The poorest person has the fewest friends. Tennis success actually doesn’t have to come at the expense of friendship.
Federer had Nadal play on the Cape Town football field performing tennis in front of 50,000 spectators, raising about 3.5 million USD for his charity fund.
But, Sharapova’s loneliness may partly stem from her success, her way of success, and her path to success.


* From the 350 USD girl to the 350 million USD queen

In July 2004, the sports world, not just tennis, witnessed one of the greatest overthrows: 17-year-old girl (born in 1987) Sharapova knocked down Serena Williams after only 2 sets and gave her opponent 5 games in Wimbledon tennis match – the most prestigious tournament of this sport.

Youth, beauty, courage, and talent made Sharapova’s victory of great significance, like a media bomb, when Serena at that time had 6 championship titles, with 5 of them won. in 2 years 2002 and 2003.

Serena explained that the cause of the defeat was due to injury, but not many people believed that. Serena was only 23 years old at that time, expected to challenge all records, and looked at as a pitiful failure.

Just one day after that magnificent title, the BBC reported that dozens of sponsors were lining up waiting for Sharapova’s signature.

Before entering the tournament, Sharapova had about 5 sponsors, 2 of which had a total value of 1.3 million USD (from Nike and Prince).


The article estimates that Sharapova could earn about 130 million USD in the next 10 years from advertising sponsorship.

Estimates come true, and more. Each subsequent month, Masha got one more sponsor on average. In December 2004, Masha signed with Tag Hauer, a Swiss watch brand that continued to sign a contract with her until 2015. Nike increased the contract value exponentially and in 2010 she signed a 10-year contract with this company. worth 8.5 million/year.

Sharapova’s assets today are 325 million USD, with 13 consecutive years of being the highest-paid female athlete on the planet, and the ratio between prize money and advertising money usually fluctuates between 1-4 and 1- 6. That means for every 1 bonus coin, Sharapova can earn an average of 5 sponsorship coins. Even if Sharapova doesn’t earn any prize money, sponsorship money will continue to flow into her account.

Because Sharapova’s life from childhood and career from a young age has been an extraordinary story.


* The girl’s loneliness paves the way for the world

At the age of 7, he left his homeland, Russia, to follow his father to America. Both father and son only had a few hundred dollars as capital. Then legendary coach Nick Boletteri accepted him into the Training Academy with a fee of 0 VND. He chose Masha because of her potential, will, and aspirations. He wants to help her become a Grand Slam champion.

Bolettieri’s IMG Academy is rewarded by the reputation Masha brings to it. Masha’s success opened a new trend for world tennis: Young talents from all over flocked there to join the academy with the dream of being successful like Masha.

Would it be an exaggeration to say that Sharapova has partly indirectly redrawn the world tennis map, as more and more tennis champions come from Eastern European countries; Did the opportunity to train in an ideal environment cause the more determined players to come out ahead of the American players?

Success is even more resounding. The bigger the bonus. Sponsorship money is increasing day by day. Masha became more and more lonely.

She was not well received by Americans. She was shunned by Russian tennis. Other Eastern European female tennis players are bitter.

When playing against compatriot Maria Kirilenko, Masha was provoked by her opponent by tapping the court with the edge of her racket to protest her loud scream.

When Masha was banned from competition for 2 years for doping in March 2016 (later reduced to 15 months by the CAS Sports Court), the majority of people in the tennis community were jubilant.

When Masha returned from her ban, she faced protests from other players, including Radwanska, a Polish player, who criticized that the right to protect the ranking should never be reserved for one person. newcomer is punished for cheating.


Four years after the 2004 Wimbledon title, Sharapova was confident enough and accepted to overcome conflicts with other Russian players to play for Russia in the Fed Cup.

Eight more years later, Sharapova “won” the debate about whether she deserved to be the flag bearer for the Russian Sports Team at the London Olympics.

11 years later, Sharapova felt comfortable playing Fed Cup matches in Russia, wearing the traditional red shirt, playing every point with the cheers of home fans.

Masha spoke for the first time about her passport, declaring that she would never exchange her Russian citizenship for anything.

That was probably the inspiration born from her being chosen as one of the torch bearers at the Winter Olympics held in Sochi, where her whole family evacuated from her hometown just a short distance from the Chernobyl disaster. nucleus several tens of kilometers.

Perhaps the hardships and the fact that tennis became the only way of life for her whole family for many years has shaped Sharapova into playing every tennis match as if opening up the way of life for her and her family. .


* And the tennis of life

Her tennis was tinged with fighting, triggered by resounding screams that deeply divided the tennis world, both from the stands and down to the court.

It is also one of the two reasons why Sharapova became the “double fault queen”: A shoulder injury prevented her from swinging the racket up high, then hitting the ball was no longer round, while her bulky body ( 1m88 tall) made her inherently slower than her opponents, and her mentality of having to win the battles of life created heavy pressure.

The double fault is not Masha’s only weakness. She does not have elegant movements when entering the court, is not flexible when needing to mix left cuts and backhands, lacks spin balls to play safely and wait for the opportunity.

But willpower is a strong point that is often enough to overcome everything. Sharapova won 36 titles, including 5 Grand Slams, is one of 6 female tennis players to be crowned at all 4 major tournaments, is the first Russian woman to rise to No. 1 in the world and have a total of 21 weeks. “standing” in that position, winning a silver medal in women’s singles at the Olympics.

When Sharapova, after winning Wimbledon, won the throne at the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open, it was considered a matter of course. She compared herself to a “skating bull” on clay courts, and winning Roland Garros 2012 and 2014 was extraordinary.

And Sharapova just collapsed, never to return to her peak from the ban she had to pay for her doping mistake.

When she returned in the summer of 2017, Sharapova never reached another Grand Slam final again. She also only won a small title in Tianjin (China).

After three consecutive first-round eliminations at Grand Slam tournaments, even though screams still rang out throughout the stands after each shot, Sharapova understood that she no longer belonged to the top tennis world.

If in 2016 she chose a dark outfit, appeared at a luxury hotel, and broadcast live to the world about her positive doping result, then this time, Sharapova published an article in the newspaper. Farewell mixes glorious pride and painful trauma with longing that will overwhelm her.

At that moment, the tennis world realized that the void she left behind was too great, even though there was only one female tennis player who had ever been in the Top 10 who shared her status (Kvitova).

Masha’s legacy when leaving tennis at the age of 33 with this sport is to show the world that coming to America is the way to surpass America, that you need to be extraordinary, to be a successful businessman. , is both a successful tennis player.

Masha has conquered everything, except for one thing that has become a rule in this life: a woman at the pinnacle of success is often a lonely person.

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