The fiercely honest, fearless, darkly funny autobiography of global tennis star Maria Sharapova
In the middle of the night, a father and his daughter step off a Greyhound bus in Florida and head straight to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. They ring the bell, though no one is expecting them and they don't speak English. They have arrived from Russia with just seven hundred dollars and the conviction that this six-year-old girl will be the world's next great tennis star. They are right.
This is Maria Sharapova's gripping and fearless autobiography, telling her story from her roots in the small Siberian town her parents fled to after the Chernobyl disaster, through her arrival in the US with nothing and her phenomenal rise to success - winning Wimbledon aged just seventeen - to the disasters that threatened her career and her fight back. Here the five-time Grand Slam winner gives us candid insights into her relationship with her father, who gave up his job and life in Russia to dedicate himself to his daughter; the truth behind her famous rivalry with Serena Williams; the injuries and suspension controversy that threatened to end it all; and her recent battle to get back on court.
Told with the same combative, no-holds-barred attitude as her game, it's a story of crazy luck, mistakes, rivalries, sacrifice, survival and, above all, the constant, unwavering determination to win.
In this insightful memoir, 30-year-old tennis star Sharapova details her life from her earliest memories to the present day. Her father, Yuri, whisked six-year-old Maria from Russia to Florida because of her tennis skills, at tennis star Martina Navratilova's suggestion: "Your daughter can play; you need to get her out of the country to a place where she can develop her game." What ensued for Maria was a life lived on tennis courts either playing in tournaments or toiling in academies partially funded by whatever work Yuri could find. Maria excelled quickly, though at the cost of a typical childhood. After winning Wimbledon at 17, she entered another isolated sphere, one of celebrity and its trappings. "In short," she writes, "winning fucks you up." She is similarly blunt when discussing how to lose and her rivalry with Serena Williams, whom Sharapova discovered bawling after Sharapova beat her at Wimbledon in 2004 ("I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment"). Sharapova's eloquent self-awareness provides a rare glimpse into the disorienting push and pull of a famous athlete's life. "I know you want us to love this game us loving it makes it more fun to watch," she writes. "But we don't love it. And we don't hate it. It just is, and always has been." 16 pages of full-color photos.