Born: April 19, 1987, Russia | Successful For: Tennis Player | Zodiac Sign: Aries
3 Reasons That Made Maria Sharapova Successful:
Maria Sharapova Found Her Gift And Kept Unwrapping The Present:
Maria Sharapova's parents enjoyed playing tennis themselves and taught their daughter how to hit the ball. She received her first racket as a toddler, however her parents could not afford a child racket so they cut off the handle of an adult sized one. She was highly intrigued with the tennis ball early and showed some serious commitment to learning, and more so evolving with the game. Her father and her would play often at the local park and she would apparently practice all day by hitting the ball against the side of her house. "When I make a commitment I stick to it."
By the time she was six, she was enrolled in a youth tennis clinic and her coach quickly noted her amazing hand eye coordination. She humbly admits "I hit a ball for a living, but I have that passion to keep learning." When she first arrived to Florida with her father, it only took her 4 months to learn English and her tennis skills were rapidly improving. By pursuing and ultimately mastering her passion, she was able to become one of the richest female athletes ever, and gained the privilege to give back to the things she had a deeper purpose for. Maria Sharapova became a Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations and has donated huge amounts to several charities. "I love what I do and I love being an athlete, but I also love all the things that have come with it."
She Made Big Sacrifices And Was Surrounded By People Who Encouraged Her Dreams:
Her parents were massive supporters of Maria's dreams and did whatever necessary to help her make it a reality. They took gigantic leaps of faith that served prosperous in the long run. Her father Youri was highly committed and he moved the family a few times for more opportunities - not for himself, but for Maria, where they first landed in Sochi. Upon being referred by a coach, he left his native Russia to take his daughter to a Tennis Academy in Florida and neither of them spoke a word of English. He borrowed money from his and his wife's parents in order to pay for the trip - which was a tough thing to ask as Russians were struggling to make ends meet. In a Forbes interview, she said "My parents weren't stupid, the conditions in Russia weren't the best for tennis."
Upon arriving, they were denied admission because it was by invitation only and she was also too young. Her mother could not go because of visa implications and stayed apart from her family for nearly 2 years. In the mean time, Youri took many random jobs and worked really hard to support the training and living costs. "Without my dad, I wouldn't be here." Soon he found Maria another coach and eventually she was accepted into the boarding type school. She has commented saying “I didn't see my mum for two years and I barely saw my dad for one year. I was living in a dormitory by myself and sacrificed a lot of things.” She has even hinted that she was bullied in the school by older girls in a very competitive atmosphere. She studied hard and practised harder - sometimes training and practising up to 6 hours a day. With due time, she was signed to a talent management company that groomed her for success. Maria Sharapova is extremely humble and admits "I know my roots and I cannot forget the journey I made."
Maria Sharapova Had A Competitive Mindset And Believed She Was Great:
"I'm an athlete. I go out there and fight my heart out." Maria Sharapova has apparently always had a tenacious spirit and has stated that from early on in her life she would compete for almost anything, from always trying to be first in line to as far as "eating pasta faster than somebody else". At age nine, she proved herself immensely to scouts in a try-out that earned her a $46,000/year scholarship. This competitive trait would eventually enable her to beat the legendary Serena Williams in the prestigious Wembley tournament. She has said "I've been playing against older and stronger competition my whole life. It has made me a better tennis player and able to play against this kind of level despite their strength and experience."
Maria's fierce mentality is obvious; her grunt from hitting a serve was once measured louder than a motorcycle. Along with her ambitious nature, Maria Sharapova also believes in her own fate, accepting that "You control your own wins and losses." She has said in the past that visualizing herself lifting a nicely polished trophy is what motivates her enormously. She knows she is unique and her self worth is apparent in any interview “I'm not the next anyone, I'm the first Maria Sharapova.”
"A great tennis career is something that a 15-year-old normally doesn't have. I hope my example helps other teens believe they can accomplish things they never thought possible."
– Quote by Maria Sharapova
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