‘Couldn’t Look at Him in the Face’ – Maria Sharapova Opens Up on the Hardest Conversation With Her Father

Published 03/01/2024, 4:45 AM EST

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Many tennis stars have been led into the sport by their parents. They learn the sport with their help and enter the professional scene with them as well. Maria Sharapova was one such player who learned tennis from her father and became a professional player under his guidance. She also won her first three grand slams with him. However, Yuri Sharapova could not occupy the situation forever. 

Masha recently interviewed with the Bloomberg Originals and talked about her tennis career. She also dived deep into her relationship with her father and touched upon the topic of how she prepared for having the difficult conversation of firing him as her coach after a while.  

The greatest gift that he gave me was acknowledging that at some point, he will have to step back. And for a father in sport, particularly in tennis, as a father of a girl that’s won Grand Slams with him is a very tough acceptance to have. I did that after my third Grand Slam at the Australian Open.


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While she was filled with dread, she believed her father knew it was coming. “I think he knew it was coming because I wanted to do it with him. And I wanted to do it on my own. I wanted to have that independency and it was more for me than anything else.”

Additionally, Sharapova also talked about why she wanted to go another route after winning her third grand slam title and the dread she felt while going through with the process.

“It’s not about victories” – the reason Maria Sharapova wanted a different coach


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Being with the same guide in her life, the Russian player realized that it was time for a change. She decided to send an email to her father after she won her third grand slam at the 2008 Australian Open

It was not about money. It’s not about victories, is just this little, little bird, this little instinct of mine that said, ‘You know what, this is time I won my third Grand Slam at the Australian Open’ and I drafted a really good email, I just thought I was gonna do this much better on email and draft my thoughts better. And I did. And I couldn’t look at him in the face while saying that.


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While she believed he knew it was coming, he probably did not expect it to happen after her third slam win. The process was tricky and difficult for her, but she decided to do it quickly. Being in her 20s, she wanted to pursue the sport on her terms. Masha would go on to win two more grand slams after they split and won several other titles as well. Her decision to split did work out in her favor over time.


Written by:

Ripunjay Gaba


One take at a time

Ripunjay Gaba, a tennis enthusiast-turned-journalist at EssentiallySports, found his way from freelance sports journalism to the publishing house in ES. Here, his writing canvas encompasses the game specifics while finding poetic resonance in covering major sporting events. Ripunjay, a perpetual upgrader, uses avid reading to bring varied flavor to his Tennis reporting.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri