*One of The Boston Globe's Best Books of 2017*
From Maria Sharapova, one of our fiercest female athletes, the captivatingâand candidâstory of her rise from nowhere to tennis stardom, and the unending fight to stay on top.
In 2004, in a stunning upset against the two-time defending champion Serena Williams, seventeen-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon, becoming an overnight sensation. Out of virtual anonymity, she launched herself onto the international stage. âMaria Maniaâ was born. Sharapova became a name and face recognizable worldwide. Her success would last: she went on to hold the number-one WTA ranking multiple times, to win four more Grand Slam tournaments, and to become one of the highest-grossing female athletes in the world.
And thenâat perhaps the peak of her careerâSharapova came up against the toughest challenge yet: during the 2016 Australian Open, she was charged by the ITF with taking the banned substance meldonium, only recently added to the ITFâs list. The resulting suspension would keep her off the professional courts for fifteen monthsâa frighteningly long time for any athlete. The media suggested it might be fateful.
But Sharapovaâs career has always been driven by her determination and by her dedication to hard work. Her story doesnât begin with the 2004 Wimbledon championship, but years before, in a small Russian town, where as a five-year-old she played on drab neighborhood courts with precocious concentration. It begins when her father, convinced his daughter could be a star, risked everything to get them to Florida, that sacred land of tennis academies. It begins when the two arrived with only seven hundred dollars and knowing only a few words of English. From that, Sharapova scraped together one of the most influential sports careers in history.
Here, for the first time, is the whole story, and in her own words. Sharapovaâs is an unforgettable saga of dedication and fortune. She brings us inside her pivotal matches and illuminates the relationships that have shaped herâwith coaches, best friends, boyfriends, and Yuri, her coach, manager, father, and most dedicated fan, describing with honesty and affection their oft-scrutinized relationship. She writes frankly about the suspension. As Sharapova returns to the professional circuit, one thing is clear: the ambition to win that drove her from the public courts of Russia to the manicured lawns of Wimbledon has not diminished.
Sharapovaâs Unstoppable is a powerful memoir, resonant in its depiction of the will to winâwhatever the odds.
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