Maria Sharapova is a Juggernaut of the tennis world. She has been in fifty-nine career WTA finals, winning thirty-six titles (and counting—by the time this post is published, the 2018 Australian Open will be complete). She has an ability to finish on the biggest stages. At seventeen years of age she beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon. In 2012 she won her first French Open title, completing the career grand slam—a task only ten women have achieved.
Of course, she is also known for her meldonium suspension. Despite being cleared of any intentional wrongdoing (“under no circumstances, therefore, can the Player be considered an ‘intentional doper'” (Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict, 288)), many people only remember the initial news headline.
Her fifteen month meldonium suspension is not the only challenge she has faced in life. Her parents fled their home in the shadow of Chernobyl to Siberia and later to Sochi where Sharapova first picked up a tennis racket. As a young child her Father took her to America hoping her raw talent would open doors (it did). Her crushing serve has led to shoulder surgery and a new style of game-play. Serena William’s record against her is 19-2, despite that initial Wimbledon victory. Every time there is a setback, Sharapova’s drive to beat her opponents motivates her return.
The title, Unstoppable, perfectly fits a life that refuses to quit.
Sharapova, Maria with Rich Cohen. Unstoppable: My Life So Far. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2017.