'I Wanted To Have Independency': Sharapova Sheds Light On Split From Father Yuri As Coach

'I Wanted To Have Independency': Sharapova Sheds Light On Split From Father Yuri As Coach

by Nurein Ahmed

Maria Sharapova recently shed light on her decision to part ways with her father, Yuri Sharapov, while she was still in her early 20s.

Sharapova is a former World No. 1 who enjoyed a 19-year playing career on the women's tour between 2001 and 2020. She won five major titles (one of only ten women to win the calendar Grand Slam) and a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

The bedrock of Sharapova's career was laid by her father, Yuri, who coached her during her infancy years on the professional scene. Her father was working on a shoestring budget.

He had to take up various low-paying jobs upon arriving in the United States to fund Sharapova's tennis lessons at the Nick Bollettieri Academy.

The now retired WTA star reserved special praise for her father, whom she recalls had only $700 in his wallet that would cater for her tennis education. Sharapova later admits that her father's wisdom enabled him to step down from coaching duties when the time was right.

"Tennis-wise, I have to give him so much credit. He was in his early 30s with $700 in his back pocket. He was trying to find any kind of job that would help support, you know, string my next racquet for my next tournament."

Sharapova narrated on The Deal with Alex Rodriguez & Jason Kelly' podcast

"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."

Their professional split happened shortly after Sharapova won her third Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, stating that she needed to instill a culture of independence within herself.

The 36-year-old revealed that she felt uneasy having to approach her father in a face-to-face conversation to break the news. Therefore, she drafted an email as she felt her thoughts would be more meaningful.

"I did that after my third Grand Slam at the Australian Open. I wanted to have that independency. It was more for me than anything else. It was not about money, not about victories."

"I won the Australian Open and I drafted a really good email. I just thought I was gonna do this much better on email and craft my thoughts better. And I did."


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