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Maria Sharapova

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Arriving on our shores from the frozen tundras of Siberia, tennis superstar Maria Sharpova is hot enough to melt the polar ice caps. Maria Yuryevna Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987, in the town of Nyagan in Siberia, Russia, and discovered her love of the sport of tennis when she was given her first tennis racket at the age of four. She and her father emigrated to the United States when she was seven, and, upon the recommendation of legendary player Martina Navrilatova, she trained at the Nick Bollettiere Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Maria learned English quickly from her roommates at the academy's dorm and when she was 11, her mother was finally able to join her family in Florida, and home schooled her daughter - since she never had a formal education. In 2001, she joined the junior tennis circuit, and has an impressive 25-3 record, the next year, she went 26-3. She joined the World Tennis Association Tour and won 34 matches (losing 11.) In 2004, Maria dealt Serena Williams a shocking defeat at Wimbledon, making her the first Russian and third youngest player to win a singles title at the prestigious tournament. SHe has since won three Grand Slam titles, emerged victorious in the 2006 U.S. Open and has been ranked in the WTA's top ten since her Wimbledon victory. Her endorsement deals, including those for Gatorade, Nike and Canon, have made her one of the wealthiest female athletes, Forbes magazine estimated that she earned $23 million in 2007. And she's gorgeous - most recently ranking at number 17 on Maxim magazine's 'Hot 100 of 2007' list. At least she's got something to fall back on if this whole 'tennis thing' doesn't work out for her.

Maria Sharapova

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