Maria Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Russia, located in the Siberia region. Her family relocated to the city of Sochi due to fears concerning the nearby Chernobyl disaster.
Sharapova is now a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and donates heavily to Chernobyl projects. Sharapova started to play tennis at the age of 4 in Sochi after she was given her first tennis racket by Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son would go on to become Russia's first no. 1-ranked men's singles tennis player. In 2004, Sharapova became the third youngest women to win Wimbledon at the age of 17, later claiming the world's no. 1 ranking for women's singles players on Aug. 22, 2005.
Sharapova's first endorsement was with Nike at the age of 11 in 1997. Sharapova went on to launch her own tennis apparel line with Nike titled the Nike Maria Sharapova Collection. Sharapova has also had endorsements and worked with companies such as Land Rover and Canon. She was the most searched athlete on Yahoo between the years 2005 and 2008.
Sharapova has stated that she enjoys reading, especially the "Sherlock Holmes" and "Pippi Longstocking" series. She also has an interest in modeling, singing, jazz dancing, Russian music and Russian food.