Sharapova at The Championships, Wimbledon in 2009.
Towards the beginning of her career, Sharapova's first and second serves were regarded as powerful, and she was believed to possess one of the best deliveries on the Tour. Since the beginning of 2007, however, problems with her shoulder have reduced the effectiveness of her serve. She has regularly gone through spells where she has routinely produced high numbers of double faults in many of her matches. Two-time US Open singles champion Tracy Austin believes that Sharapova often loses confidence in the rest of her game when she experiences problems with her serve and consequently produces more unforced errors and generally plays more tentatively, while tennis writer Joel Drucker remarked that her serve was the "catalyst for her entire game", and that her struggles with it left her "unmasked." In her return from layoff she used an abbreviated motion, which was somewhat less powerful, and though producing aces but also very high number of double faults. After her early loss at the 2009 US Open, Sharapova returned to a more elongated motion, similar to her pre-surgery serve. She has since been able to produce speeds greater than before, including a 121 mph serve hit at the Birmingham tournament in 2010—the fastest serve of her career.
Because she predicates her game on power, Sharapova's preferred surfaces are the fast-playing hard and grass courts, and she is not as well-suited to the slower clay courts. Sharapova has admitted that she is not as comfortable with her movement on clay compared with other court surfaces and once described herself as like a "cow on ice" after a match on clay. Her limitations on this surface are reflected in her career results. The French Open is the only Grand Slam singles title she has not yet won, though she reached the semifinals there in 2007. She won her first Women's Tennis Association tour title on clay during her eighth year as a touring professional, after previously winning 18 titles on other surfaces.
Ground strokes and Net-Play
She is also known for her phenomenally accurate and powerful groundstrokes. She has a powerful forehand which tends to set up points and create successful winners. Sharapova occasionally utilizes a reverse follow-through on her forehand, similar to that of Lindsay Davenport and Rafael Nadal, which allows her to hit the ball later than normal and add top-spin, while it can also lead to timing issues resulting in errors. The backhand, although not as dominant in setting points up, is her more reliable shot with many tennis analysts considering this to be her best asset, and one of tennis' great shots. Her net play is good when on the attack, often she will choose to drive the volley instead of slice volleys, but this is not seen as a strength—this seems to be continually worked on.
Sharapova with children in Gomel, an area affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of six. She has a home in Manhattan Beach, California. Sharapova lists fashion, movies, music and reading the Sherlock Holmes and Pippi Longstocking series as among her off-court interests, while she has also talked in the past about how she takes hip-hop dance classes. has a Pomeranian named Dolce, which means "sweet" in Italian.
At the 2004 US Open, Sharapova, along with several other Russian female tennis players, wore a black ribbon in observance of the tragedy after the Beslan school hostage crisis, which took place only days before. In 2005, she donated around US$50,000 to those affected by the crisis. On February 14, 2007, Sharapova was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donated US$210,000 to UNDP Chernobyl-recovery projects. She stated at the time that she was planning to travel back to the area after Wimbledon in 2008, though it didn't happen as she had to travel back to the US because of shoulder injury. She fulfilled the trip in late June – early July 2010. With Haynes, Kirilenko, Vaidišová, Stubbs, Governor Bush and Capriati, Sharapova participated in an exhibition in Tampa in December 2004, raising money for the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund.
In July 2008, Sharapova sent a message on DVD to the memorial service of Emily Bailes, who had performed the coin toss ahead of the 2004 Wimbledon final that Sharapova had gone on to win.
Sharapova helped promote the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Sharapova has often implied that she desires an early retirement. Following the retirement of 25-year-old Justine Henin, Sharapova said, "If I was 25 and I'd won so many Grand Slams, I'd quit too." In an interview after the 2008 Australian Open, she balked at the idea of playing for another ten years, saying that she hoped to have a "nice husband and a few kids" by then.
Sharapova is engaged to Slovenian born professional basketball player Sasha Vujačić, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. The two have been dating since 2009.
The Russian former world No 1, is about to marry the Slovenian basketball and Lakers player Sasha Vujacic.
Maria Sharapova unveiling the Canon PowerShot Diamond lineup of digital cameras.
Sharapova's tennis success and appearance have enabled her to secure commercial endorsements that greatly exceed the value of her tournament winnings. In April 2005, People named her one of the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In 2006, Maxim ranked Sharapova the hottest athlete in the world for the fourth consecutive year. She posed in a six-page bikini photoshoot spread in the 2006 Valentine's Day issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, alongside 25 scantily-clad supermodels.
In a poll run by Britain's FHM magazine, she was voted the seventh most eligible bachelorette, based on both "wealth and looks."
Sharapova used the Prince Triple Threat Hornet for part of 2003 and then used several different Prince racquets until the US Open. She gave the racquet she used in the 2004 Wimbledon final to Regis Philbin when taping Live with Regis and Kelly. Sharapova began using the Prince Shark OS at that tournament and had a major part in the production of the Shark racquet. She then switched to the Prince O3 White racquet in January 2006. Because of Sharapova's various shoulder injuries, she switched to the Prince O3 Speedport Black in July 2008. Sharapova signed a sponsorship deal in January 2007 with Gatorade and Tropicana.
In June 2007, Forbes magazine listed her as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, with annual earnings of over US$26 million, the majority of which was from endorsements and sponsorships. In a later interview, she said, "You know, one of the greatest things about being an athlete and, you know, making money is realizing that you can help, you know, help the world, and especially children, who I absolutely love working with."
In 2007 Sharapova was featured in a number of Canon USA's commercials for the PowerShot.[
Sharapova has also been depicted in many tennis-related video games, along with such players as Daniela Hantuchová, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams and Anna Kournikova. Some of the titles include the Top Spin series, Virtua Tennis series, and Grand Slam Tennis.
Upon hearing that Sports Illustrated had named her in 2006 as the world's best-paid female athlete, Sharapova said, apparently only a little tongue-in-cheek, "It's never enough. Bring on the money. There's no limit to how much you can make."
In January 2010 it was announced that Sharapova had renewed her contract with Nike, signing an 8 year deal for $70 million. This is the most lucrative deal ever for a sportswoman, dwarfing the previous record, which was Venus Williams' $43 million deal with Reebok