16 YEARS AGO! Maria Sharapova Created History on the WTA Tour

Published 08/22/2021, 2:45 PM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: Maria Sharapova of Russia blows a kiss to the fans after winning her Ladies’ Singles first round match against against Samantha Murray of Great Britain on day two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 24, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)


Maria Sharapova is a name that’s quite popular in the sport of tennis. Although she retired from the sport last February, her legend still gets a mention or two in several fan circles across the world.

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While she won five Grand Slam tournaments, she reached the summit of the world rankings five times as well. Today, August 22, marks the first of five times that the 34-year-old first became a World No. 1.

Maria Sharapova became the World No. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005

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Sharapova turned pro on April 19, 2001, which was also her 14th birthday. Since then, the Russian made huge strides forward, winning her first tournament in 2003 at the Japan Open. However, her biggest claim to fame came at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.

Aged just 17, Sharapova defeated former Wimbledon champion Linsday Davenport 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 in the semifinal. In the final, she faced then defending champion Serena Williams, aged 23 years old at the time.

Despite the age gap, the Russian stunned the American in straight sets to clinch her maiden Grand Slam victory. This made her the third youngest woman to win the Grand Slam after Lottie Dod in 1887 (aged 15) and Martina Hingis in 1997 (aged 17).

As tournaments kept coming, Sharapova’s popularity, and success grew. And a year after winning Wimbledon, the Russian reached the pinnacle of the WTA world rankings. On August 22, 2005, she overtook Lindsay Davenport to become the new World No. 1 at just 18 years of age.

However, her reign lasted just one week, as Davenport stormed back to reclaim the spot. The remainder of 2005 saw Davenport and Sharapova trade World No. 1 status. Ultimately, Davenport finished the year on top as Sharapova struggled with a few injuries towards the end of the season.

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Sharapova last held the World No. 1 ranking in 2012

During her career, Sharapova held top spot in the world rankings five times. The last of those came on June 11, 2012, which she relinquished to Victoria Azarenka a month later.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 05: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates a point during her women’s singles semi-final match against Eugenie Bouchard of Canada on day twelve of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 5, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The last of her five Grand Slam victories came at the 2014 French Open, where she defeated Simona Halep in the final. Although she retired last year, fans regard her as one of the best to step foot in the game.

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WATCH STORY: Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova: The Salty Rivalry at Wimbledon Championships

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Sanket Nair

639 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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