Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Maria_sharapova.ogg ????´? ?´?????? ????´????? (help·info), Mariya Yur’evna Shara'pova [pronounced Sha-RA-po-va]; born April 19, 1987) is a former World No. 1 Russian professional tennis player and three time Grand Slam singles champion. As of October 26, 2009, she is ranked World No. 14.
When Sharapova was seven, she and her father moved from their life of poverty in Russia to the United States, to enroll in the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. After rising rapidly through the junior and professional ranks in the years that followed, Sharapova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17. In the two years that followed, Sharapova won eight titles on the WTA Tour and had two brief stints as the World No. 1. However, she lost all five Grand Slam semifinals she played during this period. She ultimately won her second Grand Slam title at the 2006 US Open.