At the age of 4, Maria’s constant companion was an old Dunlop tennis racket. At age 5, her talent already evident, training with Martina Navratilova in Moscow yielded a useful recommendation: Nick Bollettieri’s tennis camp in the U.S. By scraping together the money, Maria’s father managed to get young Maria on court with a Bollettieri coach in Florida. At 7 years old, Maria Sharapova’s rise to tennis stardom had begun.
“When I went to the US it wasn’t easy for me,” Sharapova explains. “I didn’t see my mum for two years and I barely saw my dad. I was living in a dormitory by myself and sacrificed a lot of things.” But young as she was, Maria knew that being a champion demanded more than innate talent.
Already a junior champion, at age 14 Maria Sharapova joined the professional circuit. After entering WTA rankings at No. 532 in 2002, she won Wimbledon just two years later – only the 3rd youngest and first ever Russian player to do so. By 2005 Maria had reached the No.1 slot, a first for Russian women. A second Grand Slam title in 2006 followed with the US Open Championship. Despite a chronic shoulder injury plaguing her 2007 season, Sharapova recovered to win her third Grand Slam, an Australian Open title, in 2008.
But the shoulder injury, a torn rotator cuff, resurfaced, forcing her to put down her racket for almost an entire year. Unsurprisingly, Maria Sharapova is not one to let a little thing like surgery get in the way of her goals. She returned to the courts in 2009 at No. 126 in the WTA rankings and has since fought her way back up to the No. 2 spot, having won on the way her 4th Grand Slam, the French Open in 2012 and a Silver Medal during the London Olympic Games. “My drive and determination come from my Russian blood”, Maria admits. “I didn’t spend six hours a day practicing in the Florida sun at the age of nine for nothing.”
Sharapova not only embodies the TAG Heuer values of passion and performance, but she also possesses a natural glamour and elegance. This is reflected in her choice of accessories, like the TAG Heuer sunglasses she helped design, and her Formula 1 Lady Ceramics watch. With Maria Sharapova, as with TAG Heuer, style and substance are inextricably linked.