Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova is enjoying her life outside tennis as she is now a successful entrepreneur and is actively involved in charitable work while also making occasional appearances in tennis circles to opine on the new developments in the tennis world.
Maria won her first-ever Grand Slam title at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships at the age of 18 when she defeated the top-seed and the defending champion, Serena Williams, in the finals becoming the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon singles title. Maria quickly rose in rankings and became World No. 1 a year later in 2005 in September.
Speaking about her quick rise as she became a teenage World No. 1, the 5-time Grand Slam champion compared her journey to the upcoming British prodigy Emma Raducanu who won the 2021 US Open as the World No. 150 and won the Slam without dropping a set throughout the 10 matches she played, her 3 qualifying rounds and 7 main-draw matches.
Speaking with the Telegraph, Maria said, “Grand Slam in an outstanding fashion. When [you’re young] and you succeed and become a champion, there are certainly going to be opportunities off-court that come your way. Emma [Raducanu] is an incredible athlete, what she has achieved at such a young age is very rare in the sports world and she has to enjoy every single moment of it.
Emma Raducanu follows Maria Sharapova’s footsteps, wins the WTA Newcomer of the Year award
“From my own experience at a young age, winning Wimbledon came so unexpectedly I never thought that I was physically ready to win seven matches in a 14-day period. When that happens, it’s incredibly overwhelming, you still can’t quite believe it. Emma and her family will cherish that beautiful feeling forever because it is all so exciting. You’re thinking, did that really just happen?” added Sharapova.
While Maria had already played one full season in 2003 and won her first title already, Emma had not won a single tour match when she won the 2021 US Open. The title also saw Emma jump to World No. 23, a massive jump of 127 places. Given her fantastic season where she was also in the race to qualify for the 2021 WTA Finals, Emma also won the 2021 WTA Newcomer of the Year award.