Maria Sharapova

Information about Maria Sharapova

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In 1993, at the age of six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who recommended professional training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which had previously trained players such as Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova. With money tight, Yuri Sharapov borrowed the sum that would enable him and his daughter, neither of whom could speak English, to travel to the United States of America, which they finally did in 1994. Visa restrictions prevented Sharapova's mother from joining them for two years. Arriving in Florida with savings of US$700, Sharapova's father took various low-paying jobs, to fund her lessons until she was old enough to be admitted to the academy. Before she entered the IMG business, she trained with Rick Macci, in the Rick Macci Tennis Academy. She then was offered a deal from IMG which forced her to change academies. Originally, she did train with Rick Macci, but after the deal with IMG, she could not see Rick Macci anymore. In 1995, she was signed by IMG, who agreed to pay the annual tuition fee of $35,000 for Sharapova to stay at the Academy, allowing her to finally enroll at the age of 9.