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Maria Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987, in Nyagan, Russian SFSR.Her parents, Yuri and Yelena, are from Gomel, Belarussian SSR.There her father Yuri befriended Aleksandr Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to win two Grand Slam singles titles and become Russia's first world No. Aleksandr gave Sharapova her first tennis racquet in 1991 when she was four, whereupon she began practicing regularly with her father at a local park.In 1993, at the age of six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova.Sharapova made her professional debut in 2001 on her 14th birthday on April 19, and played her first WTA tournament at the Pacific Life Open in 2002, winning a match before losing to Monica Seles.
In 1989, when Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia.Sharapova has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.She appeared in many advertisements, including those for Nike, Prince, and Canon, being the face of several fashion houses, most notably Cole Haan.Her 35 singles titles and five Grand Slam titles—two at the French Open and one each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open—rank third among active players, behind Serena and Venus Williams.She won the year-ending WTA Finals in her debut in 2004. Despite an injury-prone career, Sharapova has achieved a rare level of longevity in the women's game.