Former world no. 1 Maria Sharapova, a 5-time grand slam winner, is a legend on and off the court. We know her for her tennis strife with yet another world-renowned player, Serena Williams, a 23-time grand slam winner. The journey of becoming a former world no.1 was a difficult one. She had to leave her country and her mother in the initial years when she moved to the USA. The Russian player talked about her initial struggle when she moved to the US with her father. In a podcast interview, ‘Big Questions with Cal Fussman,’ she mentioned, “We moved to the United States when I was only 6 years old and I recognized even though I was very young that I was going over to America to play tennis and there is a reason for that.” Despite her young age, she understood the commitment of moving to the US. Sharapova realized they were going to the USA to play tennis. However, she had to leave her mother behind in Russia for this. She said, “We were leaving my mother behind so I definitely knew that there was something on the line”. Nevertheless, she did not let it overpower her. Maria Sharapova was happy to follow her passion from a very young age.
The Russian reminisced about the day when she landed at Miami Airport in the middle of the night. She said, “We really didn’t know, never been there before, or didn’t have any family or friends to go to.”
The Russian further added, “We found ourselves knocking on the door of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, and they told us to come back in the morning.” She mentioned they had little money and said, “When you are going to an academy like that, you better come with a lot of cash, and we certainly didn’t have any of that. At that time my father had 700 dollars rolled up in his old school Levi.”
Despite all the struggles, the Siberian Siren won her maiden grand slam title when she was 17 at Wimbledon, defeating Serena Williams. Conclusively, she echoed her grateful feelings for her father and said, “We definitely moved to the United States with a dream and to recollect on that experience. I wrote about it in my autobiography. Walking through those years under my father’s wings was very special.”
Maria Sharapova has taught many the fruit of sacrifice and resilience is always sweet.