Birth date: 04/19/1987
Birth place: Nyagan, Russia
Resides: Bradenton, Florida
Sharapova is Australian Open New Queen
Maria Sharapova crowned herself as the Australian Open queen on Jan. 26, 2008. After five seasons, the Russian player celebrated her third Grand Slam4 title. (Wimbledon in 2004 and the U.S. Open in 2006.) She says, “No matter how many tough times or bad days I’m going to have, as long as I wake up in the morning and can’t wait to get that tennis racket5 out of my bag. I’ll always be looking forward to improving.”
Sharapova has signed on to be Sony Ericsson Mobile Communication’s “global brand ambassador”. The Russian player will appear in commercial ads and work on “a range of products and accessories”, Sony Ericsson bosses announced recently. The World No.5 said, “Even though most people know me as a tennis player, I have so many passions beyond the sport like fashion, music, film and design, which Sony Ericsson and I are going to be exploring together.”
When she was 4 years old, a chance encounter6 changed her life. She met with the father of tennis champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and the man gave her a racket. From that moment, she started hitting tennis balls, and the game soon became a passion for her.
Two years later, she was performing at a tennis clinic7 when another tennis champion changed her life: Martina Navratilova was in the building and she was flabbergasted8 by the talent of the 6-year-old. Navratilova went to Maria’s father, Yuri, and recommended that he should find top-notch9 facilities and coaching for his daughter in the U.S.
When Maria was seven she moved with Yuri to Bradenton, Florida, to try out for Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy. The school was famous for training greats like Andre Agassi and Monica Seles. During a tryout10, Maria impressed academy officials so much that they offered her admission.
Living and attending classes at the academy was a boost11 for Sharapova’s game, but a tough adjustment. Maria didn’t speak English when she arrived in Florida, which made it hard for her to make friends. Her father had to work several jobs to pay for tuition12 until Maria received a full scholarship at age nine.
Hardest of all, Maria’s mother, Yelena, could not join her family in the U.S. because she couldn’t get a visa. She stayed in Russia for two years until her paperwork was cleared13.“Those two years were so tough,” says Sharapova.“But my father made it work and did everything for me to develop my talent.”
Fame and Fortune
Sharapova turned pro on her 14th birthday, in 2001. Her game kept improving, and at age 16, she made the fourth round of Wimbledon. But the best was yet to come: The following year, the 13th-seeded teen beat two of the best players in the world, Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams, on her way to winning the Wimbledon women’s singles title. She was the second-youngest champion in history.
Tennis fans and pros were wowed by Sharapova’s aggressive14 style of hitting the ball as hard as possible on nearly every point. “She’s kind of like me. She doesn’t back off,” said Serena Williams.
Sharapova’s win turned her into a megastar15. Photographers followed her. She signed big endorsement deals16 with sponsors17 such as Canon cameras and Motorola phones. Her name was one of the most popular searches on the Internet.
In August 2005, Sharapova became the first Russian-born player to be ranked No.1 in women’s tennis. But nagging18 injuries and a two-inch growth spurt19 forced her to adjust her game. “She’s had to learn how to move differently and regain her mobility20,” says tennis broadcaster Mary Carillo. “She has better balance now than she had last year.”
Sharapova will never be the fastest player on the Tour, but her height allows her to reach balls that other players can’t. And she is always in attack mode, never afraid to go for risky winners. “You have to be willing to squeeze the trigger21 on your shot, and that’s something that Maria does better than just about anybody,” says Carillo.
With Sharapova’s talent and drive to succeed, there are surely more Grand Slam titles in her future. “It is very important to me that I am remembered as a great tennis player and a great champion,” she says. “This means so much to me and is why I work so hard.”
It’s also why this smash hit won’t be a one-hit wonder.
1. smash hit 非常流行的人或物
smash adj. 出色的
2. billboard n. 告示牌，广告牌
3. toughness n. 坚韧，坚强
4. grand slam 大满贯（网球有四大满贯赛事，即澳大利亚网球公开赛、法国网球公开赛、温布尔登网球公开赛和美国网球公开赛。）
5. racket n. 球拍
6. encounter n. 突然的或意外的相遇
7. clinic n. 训练班
8. flabbergast v. 使（某人）目瞪口呆，大吃一惊
9. top-notch 一流的，顶好的
10. tryout n. 试训
11. boost n. 增强，提高
12. tuition n. 学费
13. clear v. 准予通过
14. aggressive adj. 攻击性的
15. megastar n. 超级巨星
16. sign big endorsement deals 签署合约 endorsement n. 赞同，支持
17. sponsor n. 赞助人
18. nagging adj. 令人心烦的
19. spurt n. 突然的加速
20. mobility n. 灵活性
21. squeeze the trigger 扣扳机
squeeze v. 挤，压
trigger n. 扳机