Here're some facts about Maria Sharapova you might not knowLast updated on Jul 30, 2019, 07:16 pm
Maria Sharapova is one of the top-rated and highest paid female tennis players to date.
Having won five Grand Slams till now, she was a promising star a few years back, before a doping controversy hit her.
However, she continues to be a fan favorite and is a major attraction in the tournaments.
Here we take a look at unknown facts about her.
Her name is often mispronounced
Starting with one of the weirdest facts about the star.
Maria's name is often pronounced accordingly to English alphabets, which is actually incorrect when it comes to the Russian accent.
According to an article in The Telegraph UK, it should be pronounced as "sharr-AA-puh-vuh" or "shuh-ruh-POH-vuh".
While the first one is the accurate pronunciation, Maria also accepts the use of second one.
She signed her first endorsement at the age of 11
Brand endorsements and sponsorships are big part of any player's career.
In tennis as well, sponsors provide equipment and other important gears to their endorsed players.
Interestingly, it usually happens when players turn pro.
However, in the case of Maria, she was spotted early on, at the age of 11, when she signed a deal with Nike.
Do you know?
Maria was awarded full-time scholarship by Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy
After discovering her extraordinary talent, Maria was awarded a full-time scholarship by the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy at Bradenton, Florida. The academy is famous for producing other legendary players like Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and the Williams sisters.
Maria became the youngest Russian to win a Grand Slam
Maria attained success quite early in her career, as she played her first WTA tournament at the age of 15.
At the same age, she became the youngest finalist at the 2002 Australian Open junior.
However, her greatest moment came in 2004 when she won the Wimbledon singles, thus becoming the youngest Russian to win a Grand Slam, beating Serena Williams in the final.
Maria was suspended for using banned substance
Despite achieving immense success in tennis career, she suffered a setback when she tested positive for Meldonium, a banned substance as per the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In March 2016, she admitted having taken the substance as she was subsequently banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
However, the ban was later reduced to 15 months upon appeal.