Maria Sharapova's penchant for tennis started at the age of three. Playing tennis by hitting the tennis ball against the wall with a second-hand racquet, Sharapova left Russia for the US with her father and $700 in savings at the age of 7.
With a pressing need of money at the time, her father would take various low-paying jobs to fund Maria's lessons since she was not old enough to be admitted to the academy. Nevertheless, relentless practice sessions and perseverance have made her one of the richest and most globally recognizable athletes of the 21st century.
Sharapova's net worth is estimated to be $135 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. As per The Richest, Sharapova has a net worth of $195 million, while Forbes claims Sharapova made a hefty $325 million through her career as a tennis player.
Sharapova, who has been the world’s highest-earning female athlete for 11 consecutive years, fortune comes from her endorsement deal with companies like Nike and Evian. She is also a brilliant businesswoman, a part of which has helped her amass the net worth of $135 million.
Maria made her professional debut in 2001 after winning the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships and receiving the Rising Star Award, given to exceptional players, the prior year.
She became a part of a global sports scene three years later after defeating Williams sisters: Venus Williams and Serena Williams to win Wimbledon at 17 years old.
The win made her a household name, and she became the top choice of the marketers. At this time, she had only sponsored Nike and Prince; however, her deals expanded with the win, and she signed the deals with Canon, Motorola, Tag Heuer, Colgate-Palmolive, Tiffany, and others.
In 2006, Maria's annual earning increased to $19 million from $3 million, marking her entry into the race of the top-earning female athlete. Sharapova continuously racked up deals in later years, including Land Rover, PepsiCo, and Sony.
Four years later, in 2010, she renewed her contract with Nike and signed an 8-year deal for $70 million, a lucrative deal ever for a sportswoman, breaking the record of Venus Williams, who had a $43 million deal with Reebok.
The same year, she launched her own tennis apparel line, the Nike Maria Sharapova Collection, in collaboration with Nike and Cole Haan. Sharapova also designed shoes and handbags for Cole Haan, including the ballet flat, which is now among the top-selling items of the entire brand.
Check out Maria Sharapova's yearly earning below:
Injuries limited Sharapova tennis matches; however, her lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Porsche, Head, Evian, and Tag Heuer partnerships helped her remain in the list of highest-paid female athletes.
In 2012, Maria partnered with candy veteran Jeff Rubin, who helped create Dylan’s Candy Bar, and developed her own brand of candy and sweets called Sugarpova. It was launched worldwide in 2013, and in 2016, Sugarpova partnered with Baron Chocolatier, a Polish company, to make Sugarpova Premium Chocolates. Sugarpova has plans to expand as a lifestyle brand with clothing and accessories.
Sharapova is also noted for her philanthropy, making a generous donation of money to good causes, especially for the welfare of children around the world. She became the Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP in 2007 and donated $100,000 to Chernobyl-related projects.
With UNDP, Maria initiated a $210,000 scholarship program for students from the Chernobyl-affected areas of Belarus. Moreover, a portion of earnings from Sugarpova is given to her charity, The Maria Sharapova Foundation, that helps children around the world achieve their dreams
Sharapova owns a ravishing three-story home in Los Angeles. Inspired by Japanese architecture, she designed the house with architects Grant Kirkpatrick and Duan Tran of KAA Design.
Most of the rooms are flooded with sunshine all day long, and the use of bleached oak, cedar, and silver travertine balance the extent of concrete and glass. The home opens into a small garden that contains an al-fresco dining area and pool, which gives a feel of an extension rather than an entirely separate space.
The furniture placed in the interior of the house is made from the mixture of antiques that came from Asia, Africa, and Europe, all set against an array of midcentury classics. There are no superfluous items in the house to embellish the free space since Maria believes 'uncluttered means healthy.' Nevertheless, the sun-drenched house fits the description of modern minimalist designs, and that is exactly what the 32 years old sportswoman wanted.
Sharapova tested positive for the banned drug called meldonium on March 7, 2016. At the time, she was provisionally banned from playing tennis for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
She took full responsibility for the failed drug test and exclaimed that she had been taking the drug for a decade because of magnesium deficiency, dizziness, and family history of diabetes. Later, she received a suspension of 15 months instead of two years on appeal.
Because of the controversy, sponsors like Nike and TAG Heuer suspended their deal with Sharapova, while Porsche postponed promotional work, which plummeted her earnings.
In 2019, she only played 15 matches, dropping to the rank of 373rd by February 2020, her lowest ranking since August 2002. In the 2020 Australian Open, she was defeated by Donna Vekic in the first round, marking her third consecutive first-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament.
The defeat to Vekic in Melbourne went on to be Sharapova's final match of her career. The 32 years old tennis player retired with five Grand Slam titles among her 36 overall singles wins, as one of only ten women to have won all four of the major tennis tournaments.
Maria's father, Yuri Sharapov, and mother, Yelena Sharapova, were from Gomel, Byelorussian SSR. They left their homeland shortly before Maria's birth because of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Despite residing in the US since 1994, Sharapova still prefers her Russian citizenship.
Maria has been in a relationship with British businessman Alexander Gilkes since 2018. He is the co-founder of Squared Circles. Gilkes divorced his first wife, Misha Nonoo, a fashion designer, in 2017.
Sharapova dated Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, between 2013 and 2015. She had been in a relationship with Slovenian professional basketball player Sasha Vujačić in 2009. Vujačić and Sharapova were engaged in 2011; however, on August 31, 2012, she confirmed that both had ended the engagement.