After learning to play tennis as a young child, she moved with her father to Florida, earning a scholarship to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy at age 9. Long-limbed and powerful, Sharapova showed immense promise on the competitive circuit. She turned professional on her 14th birthday but continued to compete among her peers, finishing runner-up at the junior Wimbledon and French Open tournaments in 2002.
Maria Sharapova claimed her first WTA victory at the 2003 AIG Japan Open and also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on her first attempt during the same year. Success came in 2004 when she won the singles title there, becoming Russia's first female Wimbledon champion. In June 2012, Sharapova capped her comeback by defeating Sara Errani in the French Open final. The victory made her just the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam (wins at all four major tournaments) and allowed her to regain the world's No. 1 ranking.
At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games—Sharapova's Olympic debut—she won a silver medal in women's singles, losing the gold to American tennis star Serena Williams. Regaining momentum in 2014, Sharapova won her second French Open and fifth overall Grand Slam title by defeating Simona Halep. In 2015, she advanced to the Australian Open final and the semifinals of the U.S. Open, before finishing the year ranked No. 4.
In March 2016, Sharapova announced that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January. At a press conference, the tennis star said that she had tested positive for Mildronate, with an active ingredient of meldonium, which she had been taking for health issues since 2006.
In October 2016, after Sharapova appealed her two-year suspension, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced that her punishment would be reduced by 15 months, allowing her to return to international competition on April 25, 2017.
Off the court, the photogenic Sharapova has landed major commercial endorsements with companies like Nike, Avon, Evian, TAG Heuer, Porsche and Tiffany & Co., among others. She was the world's highest-paid female athlete for several years.
Sharapova's other business ventures include the 2012 launch of the Sugarpova candy line with Jeff Rubin, the founder of IT'SUGAR. A portion of the sales is donated to the Maria Sharapova Foundation to support her charitable causes.