Surprised was Sharapova | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 20, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 20, 2008

The Championships Wimbledon

Surprised was Sharapova

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When 17-year-old Maria Sharapova became the third youngest Wimbledon women's champion in 2004, she famously tried -- and failed -- to call her mother from Centre Court.
Four years later, Sharapova, not to mention mobile phone technology, has undergone a revolutionary change.
Not only is the Russian a three-time Grand Slam title winner on the court, she is also a global brand off it, raking in an estimated 25 million dollars.
Her name recognition is so powerful that an internet search brings up over seven million results. Not bad for a 21-year-old.
"When you are 16 or 17, things take you by surprise. The things I experienced the morning after I won Wimbledon, you just wake up and you feel it," said Sharapova.
"You go out your door and a van is following you. Was I ready for that? It teaches you. That's not something you learn."
In the days after her Wimbledon breakthrough, major endorsement deals were being signed and she now boasts an impressive array of blue chip backers which, allied to her tennis and her looks, make her the world's richest sportswoman.
Not bad for a girl who at the age of six left her mother behind in Russia to travel with father Yuri to Florida. Neither spoke English and he took up numerous jobs to pay for his daughter's tuition at the Bollettieri academy.
"You realise how you got there and what it took and how much you have sacrificed in your life to get to that point," said Sharapova.
In the four years since that famous 73-minute demolition of Serena Williams on Wimbledon Centre Court, Sharapova believes she has had to grow up faster and develop a thicker skin than other girls her age.
Despite her roots, she has endured thinly disguised barbs from some of her compatriots on tour who point to her American accent, and ignore her fluent Russian, as evidence of an alleged lack of patriotism.
Their suspicions were only made deepened by Sharapova's long-delayed Fed Cup debut, in which taking part is a pre-requisite of competing in the Beijing Olympics.
"After I won Wimbledon, I felt like there were many expectations of me. That really took me by surprise," she said.
"It was like if you won a Grand Slam at 17, all of a sudden everyone thought I should be winning a Grand Slam every single year.
"That was absurd. Now I deal with expectations fine. I don't care about them. I have confidence in my own self to know what I do well. I know my faults. I'm not scared of them."

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