Amelie Mauresmo

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Posted by bender 04/02/2009 @ 22:07

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Wimbledon -- women's singles preview - CNN International
Defending champion Venus (five wins) and younger sibling Serena (two wins) have dominated the tournament since 2000, with only Maria Sharapova (2004) and Amelie Mauresmo (2006) breaking that monopoly. In fact, the Williams domination has been so great...
Mauresmo reaches 2nd round at Wimbledon - eTaiwan News
AP Former champion Amelie Mauresmo made heavy work of her first-round match at Wimbledon before improving her serve to overcome 54th-ranked Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. The former top-ranked Frenchwoman hit 10 aces on Court 3 despite losing...
Victory joy for Robson - The Press Association
The pair's next opponents have considerably more pedigree than the Curtis-Smith partnership though, with France's Amelie Mauresmo and Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova waiting in round two. Mauresmo and Kuznetsova, who have each won grand slam singles...
Beaten Mauresmo just wants to forget - guardian.co.uk
By Clare Fallon EASTBOURNE, England, June 17 (Reuters) - Former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo is hoping amnesia will set in after she threw away a host of chances to reach the Eastbourne International quarter-finals on Wednesday....
Amélie Mauresmo defeats Vera Zvonareva to earn second-round place - guardian.co.uk
Amélie Mauresmo of France plays a return to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during her first-round victory. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Capturing the Wimbledon title three years ago was such a liberating way for Amélie Mauresmo to escape from her...
Amelie Mauresmo, Dominika Cibulkova and Alize Cornet commit to ... - Stamford Plus Magazine
1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo, and two rising stars on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, Dominika Cibulkova and Alize Cornet, have become the first three female players to commit to Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick, an Olympus US...
Tennis Experts Blog - Yahoo! Sports
French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, former champion Amelie Mauresmo and last remaining British woman Elena Baltacha have not even managed to make it onto a major show court, such is the depth of high-quality contests on offer....
Dementieva loses to Razzano in Eastbourne - guardian.co.uk
Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo, the Wimbledon champion three years ago, threw away a host of chances to make the quarter-finals and lost 7-6 7-6 to Russian Ekaterina Makarova, with the second tiebreak going to 15-13. Frustrated at being broken...
Safin's last Wimbledon ends with 1st-round loss - The Associated Press
1-seeded Dinara Safina (Safin's younger sister), 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, who saved two match points. In a match between 18-year-old Caroline Wozniacki and 38-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm,...
A name for Baby Federer - BBC Sport
Pat Cash gets some suggestions from stars of the tennis world, including Amelie Mauresmo and Sania Mirza, for a name for Roger Federer's imminent first child. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites....

Amélie Mauresmo

Amélie Mauresmo at Wimbledon 2007

Infobox last updated on: 16 February 2009.

Amélie Simone Mauresmo (pronounced in French; born 5 July 1979) is a French professional tennis player. She is a former World No. 1. Mauresmo won two Grand Slam singles titles in 2006, at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon.

Mauresmo first attained the top ranking on 13 September 2004, holding it for five weeks on that occasion. She was the fourteenth World No. 1 in women's tennis since the computer rankings began. She is well known for her powerful one-handed backhand and her strong net play.

Amélie Mauresmo was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Inspired by watching Yannick Noah win the 1983 French Open on television, Mauresmo began to play tennis at the age of 4.

In 1996, Mauresmo captured both the junior French Open and Wimbledon titles. She was named 1996 Junior World Champion by the International Tennis Federation.

The unseeded Mauresmo reached the Australian Open final with wins over three seeded players, including World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, before falling to World No. 2 Martina Hingis. Mauresmo was only the second Frenchwoman to reach the Australian Open final dating back to 1922. (Mary Pierce won it in 1995.) She was only the third Frenchwoman to reach any Grand Slam final during the open era.

Mauresmo defeated Hingis later in the year, en route to the final of the Paris indoor event.

It was after her surprise upset of Davenport at the Australian Open that Mauresmo, 19 at the time, came out as a lesbian to the international press.

In 2003, Mauresmo was on the team that captured the Fed Cup for France.

In May, Mauresmo defeated Venus Williams in the final of the J&S Cup in Warsaw. Two weeks later in an Italian Open semifinal, Mauresmo defeated Serena Williams for the first time but lost in the final to Kim Clijsters. In November, Mauresmo defeated Anastasia Myskina in the final of the tournament in Philadelphia.

Mauresmo reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, where she lost to Serena Williams in three sets after Mauresmo had won the first set and was up a break in the second set. Mauresmo reached the quarterfinals of the three other Grand Slam tournaments and won three Tier I titles in Rome, Berlin, and Montreal.

Mauresmo won a silver medal in singles at the Olympic Games in Athens, where she was defeated by Belgian Justine Henin in the final.

On 13 September 2004, Mauresmo became the first French tennis player to become World No. 1 since the computer rankings began in the 1970s. She held that ranking for five weeks. Mauresmo was the second woman, after Kim Clijsters, to have attained the top spot without having won a Grand Slam title.

At the U.S. Open, Mauresmo lost to Mary Pierce in the quarterfinals 6–4, 6–1.

Mauresmo claimed her first singles title at the WTA Tour Championships. She defeated Pierce in the final 5–7, 7–6, 6–4 after losing to Pierce in a round-robin match at that tournament 2–6, 6–4, 6–2.

At the Australian Open, Mauresmo captured her first Grand Slam singles title, defeating Belgian former World No. 1 players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin en route. Both opponents retired from their respective matches, Clijsters with a right ankle sprain in the third set of their semifinal and Henin from gastroenteritis in the final. Mauresmo was leading in both matches at the time of the retirements, by 6–1, 2–0 against Henin.

Mauresmo then won her next two tournaments, the Open Gaz de France tournament in Paris (defeating Mary Pierce in the final) and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp (defeating Clijsters in the final).

At the Qatar Total Open in Doha, Mauresmo defeated Martina Hingis in a semifinal 6–2, 6–2 but lost to Nadia Petrova in the final 6–3, 7–5. Had she won the final, she would have immediately regained the World No. 1 ranking from Clijsters. Nonetheless, the outcome was sufficient to ensure Mauresmo's return to the World No. 1 ranking on 20 March 2006.

Mauresmo then reached the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Though now a Grand Slam champion and the top ranked player in the world, Mauresmo once again lost early at the French Open, losing in the fourth round to Czech teen Nicole Vaidišová 6–7(5–7), 6–1, 6–2.

Mauresmo next suffered a first round loss at the Wimbledon warm-up event in Eastbourne. Mauresmo and Kuznetsova won the doubles title there, which was their first as a team and Mauresmo's second overall.

Mauresmo was the top seed at Wimbledon. She defeated Anastasia Myskina in a quarterfinal and Maria Sharapova in a semifinal and then came back to defeat Henin in the final 2–6, 6–3, 6–4. The victory was Mauresmo's second Grand Slam singles title and first title on grass. She was also the first Frenchwoman since Suzanne Lenglen to win Wimbledon.

She then pulled out of the Fed Cup World Group I playoff tie against the Czech Republic due to a groin injury sustained during Wimbledon. She also withdrew from the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Her next tournament was the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Lindsay Davenport 6–4, 7–5.

At the U.S. Open, Mauresmo lost to Sharapova in a semifinal 6–0, 4–6, 6–0. This was the first time in the open era that a female had lost two sets at love in a US Open semifinal.

Mauresmo then reached the final of the China Open, losing to Kuznetsova. During the tournament, Mauresmo won 137 ranking points to help preserve her World No. 1 ranking and ended a nine match losing streak to Davenport. The last time Mauresmo had defeated Davenport was in Sydney in January 2000.

To conclude the year, Mauresmo reached the final of the WTA Tour Championships in Madrid, losing to Henin. Mauresmo finished the year ranked World No. 3, behind Henin and Sharapova.

Mauresmo started the year with a quarterfinal loss to Serb Jelena Janković in Sydney.

At the Australian Open, Mauresmo lost in the fourth round to Lucie Šafářová 6–4, 6–3 after winning her first three matches in straight sets.

Mauresmo's next tournament was the Open Gaz de France, where she lost a semifinal to Nadia Petrova 5–7, 6–4, 7–6(7) after Mauresmo led 4–1 in the final set and had a match point in the tiebreak. This was Mauresmo's third loss in the last four matches with Petrova.

In her next tournament at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, Mauresmo defeated the home favorite Kim Clijsters in the final. This was Mauresmo's third consecutive title there, earning her the diamond encrusted racquet that comes with winning the title at least three times in five years. The trophy cost US$1.3 million. Mauresmo then played the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, where she lost to Justine Henin in the final.

On 16 March 2007, Mauresmo received the Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur from President Jacques Chirac.

Mauresmo was scheduled to play the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami but was forced to withdraw because of acute appendicitis. She also withdrew from the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida for the same reason. Although she had resumed training, she was not fit enough to compete at the J & S Cup in Warsaw, Poland.

At the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Mauresmo lost in the third round to Julia Vakulenko of Ukraine.

At the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, Mauresmo lost in the second round to Australian Samantha Stosur 5–7, 6–7(4), 7–6(7) after Mauresmo led 5–3 in the third set and had a match point.

Going into the French Open, Mauresmo had played only three tournaments since the end of February. Mauresmo lost to Czech Lucie Šafářová in the third round 6–3, 7–6(4), committing eight double faults and 49 unforced errors.

After losing to Henin in the final of the International Women's Open in Eastbourne, United Kingdom, defending champion Mauresmo went into Wimbledon saying that she was ready to win another major title. However, she lost her fourth round match with Czech teen Nicole Vaidišová 7–6(6), 4–6, 6–1. The loss dropped her to World No. 6, her first time outside the top 5 since November 2003.

Mauresmo withdrew from the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the U.S. Open, because of a lack of fitness.

Mauresmo made her return to the tour at the China Open in Beijing. However, she lost in the quarterfinals to homecrowd favourite Peng Shuai, who had taken out Martina Hingis in the previous round. She then entered the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where she lost to Elena Dementieva in straight sets. At the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Mauresmo lost in the first round to Vera Zvonareva. In Zürich, Mauresmo lost in the second round to Alyona Bondarenko in three sets.

Mauresmo left Dunlop for HEAD. The partnership will run through 2010.

At her first tournament of the year, the Tier III Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, Mauresmo lost in the quarterfinals to fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder.

At the Australian Open, Mauresmo lost in the third round to Australian Casey Dellacqua 3–6, 6–4, 6–4.

At her next tournament, the Tier II Open Gaz de France in Paris, Mauresmo lost in the quarterfinals to Anna Chakvetadze 3–6, 6–3, 6–3.

Two weeks later at the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, Mauresmo lost in the second round to Tamarine Tanasugarn 7–6(7), 7–5.

At the Tier II Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Mauresmo reached her third quarterfinal of the year, but despite a valiant second set effort was unable to hold off second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and eventually lost 6–1, 7–6. Kuznetsova would eventually reach the final.

Mauresmo then lost in the third round of both the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California and the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, both of which were Tier I events.

On clay at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, Mauresmo lost in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Dominika Cibulková.

At the French Open, Mauresmo lost in the second round to a Spanish qualifier, Carla Suarez Navarro, 6–3, 6–4.

At the International Women's Open in Eastbourne, United Kingdom, Mauresmo defeated sixth-seeded French woman Alizé Cornet in the first round 6–1, 4–6, 7–5 but lost in the second round after retiring due to injury from her match with Australian Samantha Stosur while Mauresmo was leading 2–1.

Mauresmo declined the nomination by the French Tennis Federation to play in the Olympic Games after Mary Pierce withdrew. Pauline Parmentier was then nominated.

Mauresmo, after a two month hiatus from tennis due to a thigh injury sustained at Wimbledon, lost in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati, Ohio to Nathalie Dechy 6–4, 3–6, 6–2. After the match, Mauresmo, sounding optimistic about her chances at the upcoming US Open, said "I got four matches in this week, which is what I was looking for. It would have been great to play five but I'll go to New Haven (Connecticut) hoping to find a little more rhythm and build up to the US Open." Mauresmo then lost in the semifinals of the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament (in New Haven) to top-seeded Chakvetadze 6–3, 3–6, 6–1.

At the US Open, Mauresmo lost in the fourth round to 16th-seeded Flavia Pennetta 6–3, 6–0.

On 29 September, Mauresmo announced that she would split from her long-time coach, Loic Courteau.

Mauresmo lost in the first round at Tokyo and Beijing both times in long three set defeats by Dominika Cibulkova. She reached the 2nd round in Moscow falling to Dinara Safina (7-6(2), 4-6, 4-6) and fell in the first round at Zurich to Belyrussian teenager Victoria Azarenka.

At the Brisbane International tournament, Mauresmo defeated World No. 177 Jelena Dokic in the first round 7–6(9), 7–6(5) before defeating French compatriot Julie Coin in the second round 5–7, 6–2, 7–6(11) in 3 hours, 14 minutes. The fifth-seeded Mauresmo then upset top-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals 6–3, 6–2, before retiring in her semifinal match against the third-seeded Frenchwoman, Marion Bartoli, whilst trailing 0-4 in the first set. At the Australian Open, Mauresmo lost in the third round to Victoria Azarenka.

Mauresmo won her first tournament since 2007 by defeating Elena Dementieva in the final of the Open GDF SUEZ tournament in Paris.

Mauresmo is one of the few tennis players, male or female, to have reached the top ranking without first winning a Grand Slam singles title. Other players who had done so were Belgian Kim Clijsters, who ascended to the top spot in 2003, two years before winning her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2005 U.S. Open; Ivan Lendl, who first reached World No. 1 in 1983, before winning any of his eight Grand Slam singles titles; Marcelo Ríos of Chile, who reached World No. 1 in 1998 but never won a Grand Slam singles title; and Jelena Janković of Serbia who reached World No. 1 in 2008 without ever having reached a Grand Slam final.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, which ended 22 February 2009.

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Kim Clijsters

Clijsters at 2006 Wimbledon

Infobox last updated on: 7 May 2007.

Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters (IPA: , listen (help·info); born 8 June 1983, in Bilzen, Limburg) is a Belgian tennis player. She is a former World No. 1 ranked player in singles and in doubles.

During her professional career, Clijsters won 34 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles. She won the US Open singles title in 2005 and the WTA Tour Championships singles title in 2002 and 2003. In doubles, she won the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003. Clijsters was twice a singles runner-up at the French Open and a one-time runner-up at the Australian Open, also reaching two Wimbledon singles semifinals. She announced her retirement with immediate effect on 6 May 2007, but almost two years later, on 26 March 2009, she publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour next summer for several hardcourt tournaments in the United States and Canada, including the US Open.

Clijsters, known as Aussie Kim, Kim Kong, Killing Kim, or Kim Possible to many fans, was recognized for her deep, powerful, well-placed groundstrokes, as well as her court-wide defense, characterized by speed and athleticism. Clijsters, along with Jelena Janković and Svetlana Kuznetsova was among the few tennis players on either the Association of Tennis Professionals or Women's Tennis Association tours who could slide (known as the straddle) on all surfaces. After being defeated by Clijsters in the 2005 Nasdaq-100 Open, Maria Sharapova implied that Clijsters' strength lies in how she always forces her opponent to hit an extra shot, that "you just have to expect that she's going to get every ball back".

Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters was born on 8 June 1983, in Bilzen, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. She is the daughter of a successful football player, Lei Clijsters, and a national gymnastics champion, Els Vandecaetsbeek. Lei Clijsters died of lung cancer on 4 January 2009. Clijsters claims to have inherited footballer's legs from her father and a gymnast's flexibility from her mother. Clijsters' younger sister Elke finished 2002 as the ITF World Junior Doubles champion and retired in 2004 after back injuries.

In November 2003, Clijsters announced her engagement to Australian Lleyton Hewitt, but their relationship ended in October 2004. In October 2006, Clijsters announced her engagement to American basketball player Brian Lynch, who is based in Clijsters' hometown of Bree. In an interview with "Sportweekend", Clijsters stated that she was retiring to start a family. Clijsters and Lynch married secretly on 13 July 2007, at 6:00 in the morning at the Bree city hall. She was married by the mayor, with sister Elke Clijsters, Lynch's brother Pat Lynch, and both sets of parents present.

Clijsters gave birth to a daughter on 27 February 2008, at 1:35 pm at the Vesaliushospital in Tongeren, Belgium. The girl, Jada Ellie, weighed 3.035 kg and measured 51 cm. Clijsters' mother had a son Zeth with second husband Jan Goossens a few weeks after Jada Ellie was born.

Clijsters was an accomplished junior player. In singles, she finished as runner-up in the 1998 Wimbledon junior event, placing 11th in the year-end singles ranking. In the same year in doubles, Clijsters won the French Open title with Jelena Dokić, and the US Open with Eva Dyrberg, ending the season as number four in the International Tennis Federation junior doubles world ranking.

In 1999, Clijsters made her breakthrough professionally. Playing through the qualifying rounds, she made it through the main draw of Wimbledon, wherein she defeated tenth ranked Amanda Coetzer en route to the fourth round, where Clijsters lost to her childhood idol Steffi Graf. Later that summer, Clijsters reached the third round of the US Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams after serving for the match. In the autumn, Clijsters won her first Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles title at Luxembourg. She followed up with her first WTA doubles title at Bratislava, partnering Laurence Courtois.

Clijsters climbed up the rankings over the next couple of years. In 2001, she reached her first Tier I final at the tournament in Indian Wells, California, losing to Serena Williams in a match overshadowed by controversy. Clijsters also reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, where she lost to Jennifer Capriati 12–10 in the third set. This two-hour, 21-minute match featured the longest third set in a French Open women's final. Clijsters was four times within two points of winning before Capriati prevailed. Her next important breakthrough came at the end of 2002, when she won the year-end Home Depot Championships in Los Angeles, defeating top ranked Serena Williams in the final. This was only the fifth defeat of the year for Williams and snapped her 18-match winning streak. On her way to the final, Clijsters defeated fourth ranked Justine Henin and second ranked Venus Williams, becoming just the fourth player to beat both of the Williams sisters in the same event. She also equaled the event's record for the fewest games dropped.

Clijsters won nine singles tournaments and seven doubles titles in 2003, including the WTA Tour Championships and two Tier I singles tournaments. She also reached two Grand Slam singles finals, losing at both the French Open and the US Open to Henin. At the Australian Open, Clijsters lost in the semifinals to Serena Williams 4–6, 6–3, 7–5 after Clijsters led 5–1 in the third set and held a match point at 5–2. She also lost in the semifinals of Wimbledon. Her Tier I singles titles were at the Telecom Italia Masters in Rome, where she defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final, and at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, where she defeated Lindsay Davenport in the final. On 11 August 2003, Clijsters attained the World No. 1 ranking, holding the spot for 12 non-consecutive weeks during the remainder of the year, and was the first player to be top ranked by the WTA without first winning a Grand Slam singles title. The World No. 1 ranking was at stake in October during the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany. Clijsters rallied from a set down to beat Henin. The match marked only the eighth time that the top two players battled for the top ranking. Even though Clijsters won that match, she finished the year ranked World No. 2, just behind Henin.

Clijsters started 2004 by reaching her fourth career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, where she lost once more to Henin. She then won two consecutive titles in Paris and Antwerp. While defending her Tier I title at the Pacific Life Open, however, Clijsters began to have problems with her wrist, eventually requiring surgery and forcing her to withdraw from most tournaments. She attempted a comeback towards the end of the year, winning several matches, before reaggravating the injury.

Clijsters finally won a Grand Slam singles title at the US Open. It was her first victory after reaching four Grand Slam finals previously. Clijsters defeated tenth-seeded Venus Williams in the quarterfinals 4–6, 7–5, 6–1, winning 11 of the last 13 games after Williams had led 6–4, 4–2. Clijsters also needed three sets to defeat top-seeded Sharapova in the semifinals but needed only two sets to defeat Mary Pierce in the final. By winning the US Open Series — a string of summer tournaments in North America before the US Open itself — Clijsters received a 100 percent bonus to the US$1.1 million in prize money she received for winning the US Open. Her US$2.2 million paycheck was the largest payday in women's sports history.

On 15 September, within days after her US Open victory, it was announced that the cooperation between Clijsters and her coach, Marc Dehous, would come to an end. Dehous thought that it was time to do something else.

At the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, Clijsters was eliminated after only two matches. She lost her first match to Pierce 6–1, 4–6, 7–6 and her second match to Amélie Mauresmo 6–3, 7–6. Clijsters said in interviews that her defeats were due to fatigue and maybe jet lag, having had a relatively short time to adjust and acclimatize before the tournament began. Although she won her third match in the round-robin tournament against Dementieva, it was considered a dead rubber.

Overall, she won nine singles events in 2005, her last one being at the Gaz de France Stars in Hasselt. She ended the year ranked World No. 2.

Clijsters started the year by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. On her way to the title she defeated Jie Zheng, Elena Dementieva, and top ranked Lindsay Davenport. Clijsters then withdrew from her semifinal match at the WTA tournament in Sydney, citing a left hip muscle strain.

At the Australian Open, Clijsters defeated former champion Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals 6–3, 2–6, 6–4 before retiring from her semifinal match with Amélie Mauresmo. Despite the loss, the ranking points she accumulated were enough to regain the World No. 1 ranking, a position she last held on 9 November 2003. She was the first tennis player, male or female, to rise from outside the Top 100 (World No. 134) to World No. 1 in less than a year. Clijsters' loss to Mauresmo in the Australian Open semifinals was due to an ankle injury. Although she had been expected to miss at least eight weeks to recover, Clijsters returned two weeks later at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp. She lost the final of that tournament to Mauresmo in three sets.

Clijsters won her first title of the year at a clay court event in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. At the French Open in May, Clijsters reached the semifinals without losing a set, defeating Hingis in the quarterfinals 7–6, 6–1. However, she lost to Justine Henin in the semifinals 6–3, 6–2 on her 23rd birthday. She was seeded second going into Wimbledon but was again eliminated in the semifinals by Henin.

Clijsters collected her second title of the year as the top seed in Stanford, defeating Patty Schnyder in the final. Clijsters then reached the final in San Diego, falling to second-seeded Maria Sharapova in straight sets. This was her first loss to Sharapova in five career meetings.

On 16 August, after receiving a first round bye at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, Clijsters faced Canadian Stéphanie Dubois in the second round. Having won the first set 6–1 and trailing 2–3 in the second set, Clijsters slipped and fell on her left wrist and was forced to retire from the match. On 18 August 2006, Clijsters announced on her official website that the condition of her wrist was worse than she had expected and that she would be unable to defend her title at the US Open. She also missed the Fed Cup final against Italy, which Italy won 3–2.

At the Gaz de France Stars, her first tournament in more than two months, Clijsters successfully defended her title by beating qualifier Kaia Kanepi in the final. At the year-ending WTA Tour Championships, Clijsters lost a semifinal to Mauresmo 6–2, 3–6, 6–3 after defeating Dementieva and Kuznetsova and losing to Sharapova in the round robin phase of the tournament.

Clijsters started her final year of professional tennis by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. On her way to the title, she defeated Jie Zheng, Patty Schnyder, and top ranked Maria Sharapova. Clijsters then won the Medibank International in Sydney, Australia, defeating Jelena Janković in the final after being down a match point. At the Australian Open, the fourth seeded Clijsters defeated sixth seeded Martina Hingis in a quarterfinal match before losing to Sharapova in the semifinals 6–4, 6–2.

She played her last tournament in Belgium at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, where she lost to Amélie Mauresmo in the final. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Clijsters lost in the fourth round to Li Na 4–6, 6–4, 6–2. In May, she failed to defend her title in Warsaw, losing in the second round to Julia Vakulenko 7–6(3), 6–3. This was Clijsters's last professional match.

On 6 May 2007, citing injuries, Clijsters announced on her official website that she was retiring from professional tennis immediately.

Clijsters, along with Tim Henman, Steffi Graf, and Andre Agassi, is planning to play an exhibition event on Wimbledon's Centre Court in May. She is also scheduled to play two matches this summer with the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis.

Following strong rumors about a comeback, she then officially announced during a press conference on March 26, 2009 that she will not only be playing several exhibition matches and World Team Tennis, but that wildcards for the Cincinnati and Toronto tournaments were requested. Additionally she will be playing in this year's US Open, after which she plans to evaluate the comeback in terms of success and the feasibility of combining it with her family life. Clijsters also stated that she preferred to think of it as a "second career" instead of a comeback, since so many factors (marriage, a baby, the recent death of her father) were different compared to her first career.

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Venus Williams

Venus Williams prepares to serve during the 2006 J&S Cup in Warsaw.

Infobox last updated on: March 2 2009.

Venus Ebonystarr Williams (born June 17, 1980) is a former World No. 1 American tennis player who, as of March 23, 2009, is ranked World No. 6. She has won the Wimbledon singles title the last two years and is the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open doubles champion.

A 16 year participant on the Women's Tennis Association tour, Williams has won 56 titles, which includes 17 Grand Slam titles - seven in singles, eight in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She has won more Olympic gold medals than any other tennis player (male or female) in history - one in singles and two in women's doubles.

She is the older sister of Serena Williams.

Williams is one of the most powerful baseliners on tour, equipped with an attacking all-court game. Also Venus' game is adapted to grass where she feels most comfortable. Across her career Venus has developed into a skillful volleyer and effectively utilizes her long 'wingspan' (1,85m) and relative agility around the net. Venus stated during an interview at the 2008 Australian Open that she was working to improve her volley. Venus also has great court coverage using her long reach to play balls that most players wouldn't be able to reach and is capable of hitting outright winners from a defensive position.

Although Venus has the most powerful and feared serve on the Women's Tour, she has an extremely elegant and graceful service action. She holds the record for the fastest serve struck by a woman in a main draw event: at Zurich Open she recorded 130 mph (210 km/h). She also holds the record for fastest serve in all four Grand Slam: Australian Open 2003 (QF) - 125 mph (201 km/h), French Open 2007 (2R), Wimbledon 2008 (F), US Open 2007 (1R) - 129 mph. At Wimbledon 2008 Venus' average first serve speed was 115 mph (185 km/h) in the quarter final, a remarkable 116 mph (187 km/h) in the semi-final and 111 mph (179 km/h) in the final - rather faster average speeds than any woman (including her sister, Serena Williams) records (data from IBM/Wimbledon). To put this into further perspective, the top men's seed (and world no.1) at the tournament, Roger Federer, registered average first serve speeds of 119 mph (quarter final), 117 mph (semi-final) and 117 mph (final) in his last three matches at the tournament. This kind of confluence in men's and women's service speeds is unusual in professional tennis, and sets Venus Williams apart from her contemporaries in the women's game. To further illustrate the difference, the no.1 seed at the tournament, Ana Ivanović, recorded an average first serve speed of 98 mph (fastest serve 108 mph) in her last match at the tournament. The no.3 seed at the tournament; Maria Sharapova, recorded an average first serve speed of 104 mph (fastest serve 111 mph) in her last match. Also during a match at Wimbledon 2007, Williams' average first serve speed was 115 mph (185 km/h) while tennis pro Rafael Nadal's average first serve speed was 113 mph (182 km/h) on the same day.

Venus Williams has always been a explosive hitter of the ball off the ground but her backhand is the more consistently reliable of her groundstrokes. Venus' backhand is equally effective down-the-line or crosscourt (frequently for a set-up approach shot). Venus' forehand does occasionally break down under pressure. However, it is still the more powerful of her groundstrokes, and a stroke that yields many winners, from a variety of court positions. Additionally, it is one the most powerful forehands in the women's game, frequently struck in the 85 - 90 mph (140 km/h) range. In the 2008 Wimbledon women's final, Venus struck a forehand winner measured at 94 mph (IBM/Wimbledon). Only a few women (notably Ana Ivanović, Serena Williams and the now retired Justine Henin) hit to these speeds off the ground.

Already well-known in tennis circles at age 14, Williams turned professional on October 31, 1994. In the second round of her first professional tournament in Oakland, Williams was up a set and a service break against top seed Arantxa Sánchez Vicario before losing the match. That was the only tournament Williams played in 1994.

In 1995, Williams played three more events as a wild card, falling in the first round of the tournament in Los Angeles and the tournament in Toronto but reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament in Oakland, defeating World No. 18 Amy Frazier in the second round for her first win over a top 20 ranked player.

Williams played five events in 1996, falling in the first round four times but reaching the third round in Los Angeles, losing to World No. 1 Steffi Graf 6–4, 6–4.

Williams began to play regularly on the tour in 1997. She reached the quarterfinals of three Tier I events — the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, the European Indoor Championships in Zürich, and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. During her debut at the US Open, she lost in the final to Martina Hingis after defeating Irina Spîrlea in a semifinal famous for "the bump" in which Spîrlea and Williams collided during a changeover. Richard Williams, her father, later claimed that this incident was racially motivated.

In 1998, Williams teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win the mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open and the French Open. Her sister Serena Williams won the other two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles that year, completing a "Williams Family Mixed Doubles Grand Slam". She began the year ranked outside the top 20 but ended the year ranked in the top 5. Williams won the first three WTA tour singles titles of her career in Oklahoma City (defeating World No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals) and Key Biscayne, Florida (defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals) and at the Grand Slam Cup. Williams also was the runner-up in Sydney (defeating Hingis in the second round for her first win over a reigning World No. 1), Rome (defeating sister Serena in the quarterfinals), Stanford, California (defeating World No. 6 Monica Seles in the semifinals), and Zürich. Another highlight of Williams's year was reaching at least the singles quarterfinals of all four Grand Slam events. Williams won the first two doubles titles of her career, in Oklahoma City and Zürich. Both titles came with sister Serena, becoming only the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour doubles title. Williams suffered from patella tendinitis in her left knee, which caused her to retire from her quarterfinal match in San Diego and not play in the year-ending Chase Championships.

In 1999, Williams again won the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, defeating Jana Novotná, Graf, and her sister Serena in successive matches. Williams also won the tournament in Hamburg, the Italian Open in Rome, the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, and the tournament in Zurich. Venus and Serena teamed to win the doubles titles at the French Open and the US Open, becoming the first sister team to win a Grand Slam doubles title in the 20th century. Venus also went 2–1 (1–1 in singles and 1–0 in doubles with Serena) in the United States' 4–1 win over Russia in the final of the Fed Cup, giving the U.S. its 16th title.

Williams missed the first four months of the year with tendinitis in both wrists. At the French Open, Williams lost to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals.

Williams then won 35 consecutive singles matches and five tournaments. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, sister Serena in the semifinals 6–2, 7–6(2), and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the final. She won three Tier II events during the North American summer hard court season, defeating Davenport in the final of the tournament in Stanford, California and Monica Seles in the finals of both the tournament in San Diego and the tournament in New Haven, Connecticut. At the US Open, Williams defeated still-World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals 4–6, 6–3, 7–5, coming back from 5–3 (15–30) down in the third set, and World No. 2 Davenport in the final. At the Olympic games in Sydney, Williams defeated Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals, Seles in the semifinals, and Elena Dementieva in the final to win the gold medal. Her winning streak was eventually snapped in October by Davenport in the final of the tournament in Linz. Williams did not play a tournament the rest of the year because of anemia.

In women's doubles, Williams teamed with her sister Serena to capture the Wimbledon doubles title for the first time and the Olympic gold medal. Williams became only the second player to win the women's singles and doubles titles at the same Olympic games.

Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, where she lost to World No. 1 Martina Hingis 6–1, 6–1. She also reached the semifinals of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, California, where she defaulted her match with sister Serena just before the match started. Venus claimed that an injury prevented her from playing, but the withdrawal was controversial. Neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. She won, however, the next tournament on the tour calendar, the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, defeating Hingis in the semifinals 6–3, 7–6(6) and World No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the final, after saving eight championship points.

During the European clay court season, Williams won the Tier II tournament in Hamburg but lost in the third round of the Tier I EUROCARD Ladies German Open to Justine Henin and the first round of the French Open to Barbara Schett.

Williams then successfully defended her Wimbledon title, defeating third-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals 6–2, 6–7(1), 6–1 and eighth-seeded Henin in the final.

During the summer hard court season in North America, Williams won the tournament in San Diego, defeating Monica Seles in the final, and the tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, defeating Davenport in the final, for the second consecutive year. Williams also won the US Open singles title for the second consecutive year, without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters 6–3, 6–1, followed by a semifinal victory over World No. 2 Capriati 6–4, 6–2 and a defeat of World No. 10 Serena Williams in the final. Venus was only the sixth woman in history to win the singles titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years, the others being Martina Navaratilova (twice), Steffi Graf (twice), Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly Brinker, and Helen Wills Moody (twice).

In women's doubles, Venus and Serena Williams won the Australian Open title for the first time and became only the fifth team to complete a career Grand Slam in that event.

Williams began the year in Australia by defeating Justine Henin to win the tournament in Gold Coast and losing in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to World No. 10 Monica Seles 6–7(4), 6–2, 6–3.

Williams then won the Open Gaz de France in Paris and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp before losing in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open and the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.

On clay, Williams beat Henin in the final of the tournament in Amelia Island, Florida before traveling to Europe for two clay court tournaments. At the tournament in Hamburg, Williams defeated Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in a three-set quarterfinal and World No. 4 Martina Hingis in the semifinals before losing to World No. 3 Kim Clijsters in the final. At the French Open, Williams defeated Seles in the quarterfinals before sister Serena defeated Venus in the final in straight sets.

Williams then reached the Wimbledon singles final for the third consecutive year after defeating World No. 6 Henin in the semifinals. In the second consecutive all-Williams Grand Slam singles final, Serena defeated Venus in straight sets.

During the summer hard court season in North America, Williams won two tournaments for the third consecutive year — the Acura Classic in San Diego and Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Connecticut. She defeated World No. 5 Jelena Dokić in the San Diego final and Lindsay Davenport in the New Haven final. She also won the tournament in Stanford, California, defeating World No. 5 Clijsters in the final. At the US Open, Williams defeated sixth-seeded Seles in the quarterfinals and Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals before losing to sister Serena for the third consecutive time in the final of a Grand Slam event.

Williams won seven singles titles during the year, a career best. In February, Williams became the World No. 1, the first African-American player to garner that spot since the computer rankings began in 1975.

In women's doubles, the Williams sisters won the Wimbledon title for the second time.

Williams started the year by losing to her sister Serena in three sets in the Australian Open final. Williams then won the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium for the second consecutive year, defeating Daniela Hantuchová and Kim Clijsters in consecutive matches.

During a semifinal match against Clijsters at Wimbledon, Williams suffered an abdominal injury that required medical attention during the match. Williams lost the first set and was behind early in the second set before rain delayed the match. Once play resumed, Williams won the match 4–6, 6–3, 6–1, advancing to her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, where she lost to her sister Serena. Following Wimbledon, both Venus and Serena suffered injuries that kept them out of competition for the last half of the year.

On the morning of September 14, 2003, Venus's older half sister, Yetunde Price, was murdered in the Compton, California area.

Williams came back to the tour and experienced inconsistent results. As the third seeded player because of a protected ranking, she reached the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to Lisa Raymond. After quarterfinal losses at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, and the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams won the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. At the Tier II tournament in Warsaw, Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. The following week, Williams reached the final of the Tier I tournament in Berlin but was forced to retire from her match against Amélie Mauresmo. Going into the French Open, Williams had the best clay court record among the women and was among the favorites to win the title; however, she lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Anastasia Myskina 6–3, 6–4.

At Wimbledon, Williams lost a controversial second round match to Croatian Karolina Šprem. The umpire of the match, Ted Watts, awarded Šprem an unearned point in the second set tiebreak. Upon the conclusion of the match, he was relieved of his duties.

Williams was the third seed at the hard court tournament in Stanford, California, where she lost the final to top seeded Lindsay Davenport in a third set tiebreak. At the tournament in Los Angeles the following week, Williams lost again to Davenport, this time in the semifinals. Williams was leading 5–1 in the first set when she suffered an injury and lost the last six games of the set. She then retired from the match.

During the Olympic Games in Athens, Williams failed to defend the gold medal she won at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney as she lost to Mary Pierce of France in the third round 6–4, 6–4.

In the fourth round of the US Open, Williams lost to Davenport for the third consecutive time. Williams ended her year by losing in the quarterfinals of three consecutive tournaments — the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich, and the Advanta Championships Philadelphia.

Williams started the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Alicia Molik. She then reached the final of the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, where she was attempting to win the tournament for the third time in four years. She defeated Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals, Anastasia Myskina in the semifinals, and was up a set and a break in the final against Amélie Mauresmo before losing the match. Williams then lost in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open.

At the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Venus defeated her sister Serena in the quarterfinals before losing to Maria Sharapova. This was the first time since the 2001 US Open that Venus had defeated Serena.

On clay, Williams reached the quarterfinals of the tournament in Amelia Island, Florida, where she lost to top seeded Lindsay Davenport. In her next tournament in Charleston, Williams lost in the third round. She then won a Tier III title at the Istanbul Cup, defeating second seeded Nicole Vaidišová in the final. At the French Open, Williams lost in the third round to 15-year old Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva, who subsequently failed a doping test and was suspended from the tour for two years.

At Wimbledon, Williams defeated defending champion Maria Sharapova in a semifinal 7–6(2), 6–1, breaking Sharapova's serve four times. (Sharapova had lost only one service game to that point.) This marked the sixth consecutive year that at least one of the Williams sisters had reached the final, and it was Venus's fifth appearance in the Wimbledon final in the past six years. In the longest Wimbledon final in history, Williams was down match point at 6–4, 6–7(4), 5–4 (40–30) before coming back to defeat top seeded Davenport. This was Williams's third Wimbledon singles title, and this was the first time in 70 years that a player had won after being down match point during the women's final at Wimbledon. In addition, Williams was the lowest-ranked (World No. 16) and lowest-seeded (14th) champion in tournament history.

Playing for the fifth consecutive week, including Fed Cup, Williams reached the final of the tournament in Stanford, California after defeating Patty Schnyder in a semifinal 2–6, 7–6(4), 6–2. Visibly exhausted, Williams lost the final to Clijsters.

At the US Open, Williams defeated her sister Serena in the fourth round for the second consecutive time but lost in the quarterfinals to Clijsters 4–6, 7–5, 6–1, who went on to win the tournament.

Williams did not qualify for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships because of an injury sustained during the tournament in Beijing.

In 2005, TENNIS Magazine ranked her 25th on its list of the 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.

Williams was upset in the first round of the Australian Open by Tszvetana Pironkova 2–6, 6–0, 9–7, which was her earliest loss at that tournament.

Williams was out of action from January 16 until April 30 because of injuries. After defeating Martina Hingis in the second round, she reached the quarterfinals of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova. She then lost to Hingis in a semifinal of the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, after defeating Jelena Janković and Patty Schnyder in earlier rounds. Williams ended her clay court season with a French Open quarterfinal loss to Nicole Vaidišová 6–7, 6–1, 6–3.

Williams was one of the favorites to win the singles title at Wimbledon. She defeated fellow American Lisa Raymond in the second round after Williams was two points from defeat. Williams then lost in the third round to 26th-seeded Janković 7–6(8), 4–6, 6–4. After the loss, Williams said that she was having pain in her left wrist, although she admitted that the injury was not the cause of her loss.

Williams did not play in the US Open series or the US Open itself due to a recurring wrist injury. During her first tournament in almost three months, she reinjured her wrist at the tournament in Luxembourg and lost in the second round to qualifier Agnieszka Radwańska after defeating Ana Ivanović in the first round.

Williams started the year by withdrawing from the Australian Open because of a recurring wrist injury. This was the second consecutive Grand Slam event that Williams had missed because of injury.

Williams then won the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tennessee, defeating top-seeded Shahar Pe'er of Israel in the final. This was her first singles title since October 2006 and her 34th career singles title.

Williams's next tournament was the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost in the third round to top seeded Maria Sharapova 2–6, 6–2, 7–5. However, her ranking rose seven places to World No. 32.

She then started the clay court season, playing at the Tier II Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. She beat fourth seeded Patty Schnyder before falling in the quarterfinals to the eighth seed and eventual champion Tatiana Golovin 6–2, 6–3. Her next tournament was the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, where she lost in the semifinals to Jelena Janković. Despite the loss, her ranking rose to World No. 22.

Williams played Fed Cup with her sister Serena for the first time in four years, in a home tie against Belgium on hard courts in Delray Beach, Florida, beating the young Belgian team 5–0. Williams won both of her singles matches.

Williams then traveled to Europe to prepare for the French Open. At the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to Svetlana Kuznetsova 3–6, 6–3, 6–4. Two weeks later, Williams played the Istanbul Cup, defeating Tatiana Poutchek in the first round before losing to French hard hitter Aravane Rezaï in the second round 6–4, 6–4. This was Williams's first defeat in a Tier III event on the WTA Tour. At the French Open, Williams lost her third round match with Janković 6–4, 4–6, 6–1. During her second round win over Ashley Harkleroad, Williams hit a 206 km/h (128.8 mph) serve, which is the second fastest woman's serve ever recorded and the fastest ever recorded during a main draw match.

At Wimbledon in a first round match on Court 2, Williams was within two points of defeat against Alla Kudryavtseva before winning. In the third round, Akiko Morigami served for the match in the third set before Williams regrouped and won the match 6–2, 3–6, 7–5. In her fourth round match, Williams defeated second-seeded Sharapova 6–1, 6–3. In the quarterfinals, Williams defeated fifth-seeded Kuznetsova 6–3, 6–4 to reach her sixth career Wimbledon semifinal, where she defeated sixth-seeded Ana Ivanović 6–2, 6–4. In the final, Williams defeated Marion Bartoli in straight sets. Seeded 23rd and ranked World No. 31, Williams broke her own record set in 2005 as the lowest seeded and lowest ranked Wimbledon singles champion. With her fourth Wimbledon title, Williams joined Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf as the only women to who have won at least four Wimbledon singles titles during the open era. The win also bettered her ranking to World No. 17, her first return to the top 20 in a year.

Williams then played for the U.S. in its Fed Cup semifinal tie against Russia. Williams won both her singles matches over Nadia Petrova and Anna Chakvetadze; however, the U.S. lost the tie when Williams and Lisa Raymond were defeated in the deciding doubles match.

At the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego, Williams lost her quarterfinal match to Chakvetadze 6–7, 7–6, 6–2 after Williams double faulted while holding a match point in the second set. Nevertheless, her ranking increased to World No. 14.

At the US Open, after setting a Grand-Slam record 129 mph (208 km/h) serve in the opening round, Williams defeated Janković in the quarterfinals 4–6, 6–1, 7–6(4) before losing to the eventual champion, Justine Henin, in a semifinal 7–6(2), 6–4. Both players had health issues during the match. In the second set, Williams was treated for a stomach ache and dizziness. The tournament resulted in Williams's ranking moving up to World No. 9. With sister Serena at World No. 7, it was the first time the sisters were in the top 10 together since September 2005.

Williams then played three tournaments in Asia. Williams won her 36th career singles title at the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, South Korea, defeating fourth-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko in the final. Despite having a heavily strapped leg, Williams then played in the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, where she lost to Virginie Razzano in the final after holding three match points. At the PTT Bangkok Open, Williams lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta 6–4, 7–6(8).

Despite officially qualifying for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, Williams withdrew because of continuing problems with anemia.

Williams began the year at an exhibition tournament in Hong Kong, defeating Maria Sharapova in the final 6–4, 6–3. She also won the doubles tournament with Caroline Wozniacki.

Williams was the eighth-seed at the Australian Open. Playing in the quarterfinals at this tournament for the first time since 2003, Williams lost to fourth-seeded Ana Ivanović 7–6(3), 6–4. When asked after the match about whether the quarterfinal losses by both Williams sisters at the Australian Open marked their decline, she replied that she had heard the same talk "every single year. Serena and I, we don't have anything to prove. The way we're playing still maintains what other women are doing in tennis. We still set a very high standard. I don't get too caught up in what the next person thinks." Playing with her sister Serena in the women's doubles event at the Australian Open, they defeated the second-seeded team of Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama in the second round but lost in the quarterfinals to the seventh-seeded team and 2006 Australian Open champions Zi Yan and Jie Zheng.

At the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, Williams was upset in the third round by 18 year old Dominika Cibulková of Slovakia. Williams also played the doubles tournament in Doha as a wild card team with Wozniacki. Their first round win marked the first time that Venus had won an official WTA tour women's doubles match without sister Serena. In the second round, Williams and Wozniacki lost to the fourth-seeded Taipei pair of Yung-Jan Chan and Chia-Jung Chuang. According to the Women's Tennis Association, it was the first doubles match Venus had ever played without an American partner, having played with Serena, Chanda Rubin, Corina Morariu, and Lisa Raymond in the past.

At the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tennessee, Williams was the top seeded player but lost to Petra Kvitová in the first round 2–6, 6–4, 6–3 after Williams had led 2–0 in the third set.

At the Tier II Canara Bank Bangalore (India) Open, Venus and her sister Serena lost in the doubles quarterfinals to third-seeded and eventual tournament winners Shuai Peng and Tiantian Sun. In singles, Venus lost to Serena, the eventual tournament champion, in the semifinals 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(4) on Serena's second match point after Serena had saved a match point while trailing 6–5 in the third set.

At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–4, 6–4.

Williams returned to the tour at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, where she lost in the quarterfinals to fourth-seeded Jelena Janković 5–7, 6–2, 6–3.

At the French Open, Williams was seeded eighth but was eliminated by 26th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta in the third round 7–5, 6–3.

Williams was the defending champion and seventh-seeded player at Wimbledon. Without dropping a set, she reached her seventh Wimbledon singles final after defeating fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the semifinals 6–1, 7–6(3). Venus then won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, beating her sister Serena in straight sets. This was the first time since 2003 that Venus and Serena had played each other in a Grand Slam final and was the first time since 2001 that Venus had won a Grand Slam final against Serena. Venus and Serena then teamed to win the women's doubles title without dropping a set the entire tournament, defeating Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the final. The Williams sisters have won all seven Grand Slam women's doubles finals they have played.

Williams was on the Philadelphia Freedoms team in World Team Tennis in July. She won six of the nine singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles matches she played. Williams then withdrew from the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles and the Rogers Cup in Montreal because of an injury to her right knee.

At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Williams was seeded seventh but lost to unseeded Li Na in the quarterfinals 7–5, 7–5. She did, however, earn a gold medal (with her sister Serena) in women's doubles, defeating the Spanish team of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the final. It was their second gold medal as a team, having won together in Sydney, Australia in 2000.

Williams was seeded seventh at the US Open and lost to her fourth-seeded sister Serena in the quarterfinals 7–6(6), 7–6(7). Venus led 5–3 in both sets and failed to convert on two set points in the first set and eight set points in the second set.

Seeded sixth at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, Williams lost to second-seeded Janković in the semifinals 6–7, 7–5, 6–2. Also seeded sixth at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Williams was upset in the first round by Pennetta 6–4, 2–6, 6–4. At the TENNIS.com Zurich Open, Williams defeated Ivanović in the semifinals before defeating Pennetta in the final to claim her second title of the year and secure a position in the Sony Ericsson Championships.

At the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, Williams was seeded seventh. In her round robin matches, she defeated Dinara Safina, Dementieva, and her sister Serena 5–7, 6–1, 6–0 to qualify for the semifinals. Williams defeated Janković in the semifinals 6–2, 2–6, 6–3 and won the tournament for the first time by defeating eighth-seeded Vera Zvonareva in the final.

Williams ended the year ranked World No. 6.

At the JB Group Classic, an exhibition tournament in Hong Kong, Williams defeated World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, Anna Chakvetadze, and Vera Zvonareva, thus making team Americas the Gold Group champion.

Williams was seeded sixth at the Australian Open where, in the first round, she defeated Angelique Kerber of Germany. She was upset in the second round by unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 2–6, 6–3, 7–5, having led 5–2 in the third and holding a match point on Suarez Navarro's serve. Venus and her sister Serena won the women's doubles title, defeating ninth-seeded Ai Sugiyama and Daniela Hantuchova in the final. This was their eighth career Grand Slam doubles title together, and they are undefeated in Grand Slam doubles finals.

Williams then won the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. She beat Alize Cornet in the third round, defending champion Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals, her sister Serena in the semifinals, and unseeded Virginie Razzano in the straight sets final. The win raised Williams's ranking to World No. 5, her highest since August 2003. She also became the twelfth player during the open era to win 40 professional singles titles and has won more of those titles than any other active player.

At the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Williams won her second title in two weeks, defeating Flavia Pennetta in the final in straight sets.

Williams's next scheduled tournament is the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, a Premier Mandatory event.

Venus has played her sister Serena Williams many times in Grand Slam singles tournaments and a few times in other tournaments. Venus leads their head-to-head series 10–9. They are the only women during the open era to have played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals.

Despite years of protesting by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King and others, in 2005 the French Open and Wimbledon still refused to pay women's and men's players equally through all rounds. In 2005, Williams met with officials from both tournaments, arguing that female tennis players should be paid as much as males. Although WTA tour President Larry Scott commented that she left "a very meaningful impression", Williams's demands were rejected.

I feel so strongly that Wimbledon's stance devalues the principle of meritocracy and diminishes the years of hard work that women on the tour have put into becoming professional tennis players.

I believe that athletes — especially female athletes in the world's leading sport for women — should serve as role models. The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling. My fear is that Wimbledon is loudly and clearly sending the opposite message....

Wimbledon has argued that women's tennis is worth less for a variety of reasons; it says, for example, that because men play a best of five sets game they work harder for their prize money.

This argument just doesn’t make sense; first of all, women players would be happy to play five sets matches in grand slam tournaments....

Secondly, tennis is unique in the world of professional sports. No other sport has men and women competing for a grand slam championship on the same stage, at the same time. So in the eyes of the general public the men's and women's games have the same value.

Third, ... we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage. And, for the record, the ladies’ final at Wimbledon in 2005 lasted 45 minutes longer than the men's....

Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class because we do more for the tournament. The argument goes that the top women — who are more likely also to play doubles matches than their male peers — earn more than the top men if you count singles, doubles and mixed doubles prize money. So the more we support the tournament, the more unequally we should be treated! But doubles and mixed doubles are separate events from the singles competition. Is Wimbledon suggesting that, if the top women withdrew from the doubles events, that then we would deserve equal prize money in singles? And how then does the All England Club explain why the pot of women's doubles prize money is nearly £130,000 smaller than the men's doubles prize money?

I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean's original dream of equality is made real. It's a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.

Venus herself became the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, as she won the 2007 tournament and was awarded the same amount as the male winner Roger Federer.

Williams professes to be a devout Jehovah's Witness.

On December 13, 2007, Williams received her associate degree in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with Cum Laude honors and a 3.5 GPA.

Williams is the chief executive officer of her interior design firm "V Starr Interiors" located in Jupiter, Florida. Williams's company designed the set of the "Tavis Smiley Show" on PBS, the Olympic athletes' apartments as part of the U.S. bid package for New York City to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and residences and businesses in the Palm Beach, Florida area.

In 2001, Williams was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by the Ladies Home Journal.

Grand slam events in boldface.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, which ended March 22, 2009.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded.

Players who have been ranked World No. 1 are in boldface.

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Maria Sharapova

Sharapova playing at the Zurich Open in 2006

Infobox last updated on: March 28, 2009.

Maria Yuryevna Sharapova (Russian: Мари́я Ю́рьевна Шара́пова?·i, Mariya Yur’evna Sharapova; born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player. A former World No. 1, she was on March 23, 2009, ranked World No. 30 by the Women's Tennis Association. Sharapova has won three Grand Slam singles titles. In 2004, at the age of 17, she won Wimbledon, defeating Serena Williams in the final. She has since won the 2006 US Open, defeating Justine Henin in the final, and the 2008 Australian Open, defeating Ana Ivanović in the final.

Sharapova has represented Russia in Fed Cup, although her appearances have been controversial. She has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in Sports Illustrated. Sharapova was the most searched-for athlete on Yahoo! in both 2005 and 2008. In July 2008, as a result of her success both on and off court, she was the world's highest-paid female athlete.

As of October 2008, she is coached by her father, Yuri Sharapov, and former player Michael Joyce.

Sharapova is a power baseliner, with power, depth, and angles on her forehand and backhand. Instead of using a traditional volley or overhead smash, she often prefers to hit a powerful "swinging" volley when approaching the net or attacking lobs. Sharapova is thought to have good speed around the court, especially considering her height. At the beginning of 2008, some observers noted that Sharapova had developed her game, showing improved movement and footwork and the addition of a drop shot and sliced backhand to her repertoire of shots.

Sharapova's preferred surfaces are the fast-playing hard and grass courts because her game is not as well-suited to the slower-playing clay courts. She lacks confidence in her ability to move and slide on this surface and once described herself as like a "cow on ice" after a match on clay. Her limitations on this surface are reflected in her career results, as she did not win a Women's Tennis Association tour title on clay until April 2008 (despite having won 18 titles on other surfaces) and because the French Open is the only Grand Slam singles title she has not yet won.

Sharapova's first and second serves are powerful. She is able to serve at speeds that very few women are capable of reaching. At the Rome Masters (Internazionali BNL d'Italia) she hit at 206kph (128mph) fault serve against Dominika Cibulková, and, at the World TeamTennis in 2007, she struck a clean 126mph serve, just 4mph short of the WTA record serve. She is often able to produce an ace or a service winner or provoke a weak reply from her opponent, which allows her to take control of the rally immediately. A serious shoulder injury in early 2007, however, reduced the effectiveness of her serve for several months, as she routinely produced eight to ten double faults in many of her matches during this period. She later changed her service motion to a more compacted backswing (as opposed to her traditional elongated backswing) in an attempt to put less stress on her shoulder, but she nevertheless periodically experienced problems with her serve throughout the rest of the year, most notably producing 12 double faults in her third-round loss at the US Open. Her serve appeared to be more effective at the 2008 Australian Open, as she produced just 17 double faults in seven matches while winning the tournament. Her serving problems resurfaced, however, during the spring of 2008, as she produced 43 double faults in just four matches at the French Open and eight double faults during her second round loss at Wimbledon. Television commentator and two-time US Open singles champion Tracy Austin believes that when Sharapova experiences problems with her serve, she often loses confidence in the rest of her game, and as a result, produces more unforced errors and generally plays more tentatively.

Sharapova is known for on-court "grunting", which reached a recorded 101 decibels during a match at Wimbledon in 2005. She has maintained that grunting is an element of her game. She faced criticism for it though, from fellow competitor Elena Dementieva and Judy Murray, mother of Andy, at Wimbledon that year. Monica Seles, a notorious grunter, came to her defence, saying that the noise produced is involuntary and a part of women's tennis.

Sharapova was born in 1987 to Yuri and Elena, ethnic Russians, in the town of Nyagan in Siberia, Russia. Previously her parents had lived in Gomel, Belarus, but were compelled to move after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. When Sharapova was two, the family moved to Sochi. There, Sharapova's father befriended Aleksandre Kafelnikov, whose son Yevgeny would go on to become a Grand Slam champion. Aleksandre gave Sharapova her first tennis racket at the age of four and subsequently, she and her father began to practice regularly in the local park.

Age six, Sharapova attended a tennis clinic in Moscow run by Martina Navratilova, who noted Sharapova was talented but required professional training, recommending the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Sharapova and her father, neither of whom could speak English, moved to Florida in 1994. Because of visa restrictions, Sharapova's mother could not originally move with them, though she eventually joined them two years later. Sharapova's father was forced to take various low-paid jobs to fund her lessons, including washing dishes, and, until the age of 12, she rode to the academy each day on the handlebars of Yuri's bicycle as they could not afford any other method of transport. Sharapova developed rapidly at the academy and began playing junior tournaments.

Sharapova turned professional in 2001, although she played just one tournament, on the ITF Circuit, that year.

The following year, Sharapova became, at the age of 14, the youngest girl to reach the final of the junior Australian Open and repeated this feat at Wimbledon later in the year. She also won three titles on the ITF Circuit and played her first matches on the main WTA Tour, including winning a match at the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California before losing to Monica Seles in the second round.

Sharapova started playing tour events full-time in 2003. She finished the year ranked World No. 32 and was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year.

Sharapova won three qualifying matches at both the Australian Open and the French Open to reach the main draw, although she subsequently lost in the first round in both events.

At the tournament in Birmingham, United Kingdom on grass, she reached the semifinals of a main tour event for the first time, defeating top seed and World No. 15 Elena Dementieva en route for her first win over a Top 20 player. She was consequently awarded a wildcard into the main draw at Wimbledon, defeating the 11th seed and the 21st seed en route to the fourth round, where she lost to compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova. After losing in the second round of the US Open to Emilie Loit, Sharapova won her first title at the Tier III tournament in Tokyo in October and then won another Tier III tournament four weeks later in Quebec City.

Sharapova finished 2004 ranked World No. 4 and was the second-ranked Russian (behind Anastasia Myskina). She won her first Grand Slam title, at Wimbledon. Her five titles during the year trailed only Lindsay Davenport's seven and equalled Justine Henin's total. Sharapova also topped the prize winnings list for the year.

Sharapova did not play in any of the warm up tournaments in Australia or anywhere before the Open but instead picked to play the Hong Kong exhibition where she reached the finals losing to American super star Venus Williams.

Sharapova started the year by reaching the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to seventh-seeded Anastasia Myskina 6–4, 1–6, 6–2. The week after the Australian Open, Sharapova lost in the second round of the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. She then played in three hard court tournaments, losing in the semifinals of the tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, the fourth round of the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, and the fourth round of the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.

During the spring clay court season leading up to the French Open, Sharapova lost in the third round at both the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, which were both Tier I events. At the French Open itself, Sharapova reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time in her career, losing to Paola Suárez 6–1, 6–3.

On grass leading up to Wimbledon, Sharapova won the tournament in Birmingham, United Kingdom, defeating Tatiana Golovin in the final. This was Sharapova's third career title. The 17-year-old Sharapova went into Wimbledon as the 13th seed. In her second consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, she defeated Ai Sugiyama 5–7, 7–5, 6–1 and then upset fifth-seeded and former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals 2–6, 7–6(5), 6–1. Her opponent in the final was two-time defending champion Serena Williams, with Williams an overwhelming favorite based on her higher seeding and greater experience. Sharapova, however, defeated Williams in straight sets, becoming the third-youngest Wimbledon women's champion (after Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis). She was the first Russian to win the tournament and was, at the time, the lowest seed to win the women's event.

During the North American summer hard court season leading up to the US Open, Sharapova played three tournaments. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego, the third round of the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, and the second round of the Tier II tournament in New Haven, Connecticut. At the US Open itself, Sharapova lost to French player and two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce in the third round 4–6, 6–2, 6–3.

Sharapova then played three tournaments in Asia and one in Europe. She lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals of the tournament in Beijing. During the next two weeks, Sharapova won the Tier IV tournament in Seoul, South Korea and successfully defended her Japan Open Tennis Championships title in Tokyo. Sharapova reached her first Tier I final at the Zurich Open, losing to Alicia Molik.

At the Tier II tournament in Philadelphia, Sharapova reached the semifinals before defaulting her match to Amélie Mauresmo. Sharapova then ended the year by winning the WTA Tour Championships. She defeated an injured Serena Williams in the final 4–6, 6–2, 6–4 after being down 4–0 in the final set.

Sharapova finished 2005 ranked World No. 4 again but was the top-ranked Russian for the first time. She won three titles during the year and was the only player in 2005 to reach three Grand Slam semifinals.

Sharapova started the year by reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open, where she held three match points before losing to eventual champion Serena Williams 2–6, 7–5, 8–6. In February at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Sharapova won her first Tier I event, defeating top ranked Lindsay Davenport in the final. Three weeks later, she won the tournament in Doha, Qatar, defeating Alicia Molik in the final. She then reached the semifinals of the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California where she lost to World No. 1 Davenport 6–0, 6–0. To complete the spring hard court season, Sharapova reached the final of the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost to Kim Clijsters.

Sharapova participated in two of the clay court tune-ups for the French Open. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin to Justine Henin and the semifinals of the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome to Patty Schnyder. At the French Open, Sharapova lost in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, falling to Henin, the eventual champion.

On grass, Sharapova successfully defended her title at the tournament in Birmingham, United Kingdom, defeating Jelena Janković in the final to extend her winning streak on grass to 19 matches. But her winning streak ended at Wimbledon. Although she reached the semifinals there without losing a set, she lost in that round to Venus Williams, the eventual champion, 7–6(2), 6–1.

World No. 1 Davenport injured her back during the Wimbledon final, which prevented her from defending the ranking points she obtained during the 2004 U.S. hard-court season. Although Sharapova also played very few tournaments in this time because of injury, she had fewer points to defend than Davenport and therefore rose to the World No. 1 ranking on August 22, 2005. She was the first Russian woman to hold the position. Her reign lasted only one week, however, as Davenport reclaimed the top ranking after winning the tournament in New Haven, Connecticut.

At the US Open, Sharapova was the top-seeded player but lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Clijsters 6–2, 6–7(4), 6–3. Sharapova was down 5–2 in the second set and was one game away from defeat but fought back to claim the set. Sharapova saved five match points before Clijsters won the match on the sixth match point. Nevertheless, the points she accumulated at the US Open meant that she once again leapfrogged Davenport to take the World No. 1 ranking on September 12, 2005, retaining it for six weeks before relinquishing it again to Davenport following the Zurich Open. To conclude the year, Sharapova failed to defend her title at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Amélie Mauresmo.

Sharapova finished 2006 ranked World No. 2 and, for the second year, as the top Russian player. She won the US Open and three Tier I titles, more than any other player. Her total of five titles was second only to Justine Henin's six.

At the Australian Open, Sharapova lost in the semifinals to Henin 4–6, 6–1, 6–4, the only match of the year that Sharapova lost after winning the first set. When questioned by the media about her on-court grunting at the Australian Open, Sharapova said, "I know this is your job. But take your notepads, take your pencils down, take your grunt-o-meters down, the fashion police, put it all away and just watch the match." Three weeks later, Sharapova lost to Henin again in the final of the tournament in Dubai.

Sharapova claimed her first title of 2006 and eleventh of her career at the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, defeating Elena Dementieva in the final. Sharapova then lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final of the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Sharapova participated at the French Open without having played any of the clay court tune-ups because of injury. After saving three match points in the first round against Mashona Washington, Sharapova was eliminated in the fourth round by Dinara Safina 7–5, 2–6, 7–5, after Sharapova led 5–1 in the third set before losing 18 of the match's last 21 points.

Sharapova then started the grass court season in Birmingham, United Kingdom but was unsuccessful in her attempt to win this tournament for the third consecutive year, losing in the semifinals to American Jamea Jackson. At Wimbledon, Sharapova was defeated in the semifinals for the second consecutive year, losing to eventual champion and World No. 1 Amélie Mauresmo 6–3, 3–6, 6–2.

That autumn, Sharapova won two tournaments in consecutive weeks. At the Tier I Zurich Open, Sharapova defeated Daniela Hantuchova in the final. At the tournament in Linz, Austria, Sharapova beat fellow Russian and defending champion Nadia Petrova to take her fifth title of 2006 and the 15th title of her career.

To end the year, Sharapova won all three of her round-robin matches at the Sony Ericsson Championships, extending her winning streak to 19 matches. She lost, however, to eventual champion Henin in the semifinals. Sharapova would have finished the year as World No. 1 had she won the tournament.

Sharapova ended 2007 ranked World No. 5, the fourth consecutive year that she finished in the top five. However, for the first time since 2004, she did not finish the year as the top ranked Russian (the honor instead being held by Svetlana Kuznetsova). Sharapova also won just one title, the first time she had failed to win at least two titles since 2002 (when she played just three WTA matches).

Sharapova was the top seed at the Australian Open because of World No. 1 Justine Henin's withdrawal. Sharapova defeated the 62nd-ranked Camille Pin in the first round 6–3, 4–6, 9–7 on her fourth match point in air temperatures that exceeded 40 °C (104 °F) and on-court temperatures that exceeded 50 °C (122 °F). In the semifinals, Sharapova defeated fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters to reach her first Australian Open final and gain the opportunity to win the only Grand Slam singles title that a Russian woman had not yet won. However, Serena Williams, ranked World No. 81, overpowered Sharapova in the final. Reaching the final meant Sharapova recaptured the World No. 1 ranking.

Partly because of hamstring and shoulder injuries that reduced the effectiveness of her serve, Sharapova did not win any of her next three tournaments. At the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Sharapova retired from her semifinal match with Ana Ivanović. At the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Sharapova lost in the fourth round and consequently lost the World No. 1 ranking. In the fourth round of the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Sharapova lost to Serena Williams for the second consecutive time 6–1, 6–1.

A shoulder injury forced Sharapova to miss most of the clay court season for the second consecutive year. Her only tune-up for the French Open was the tournament in Istanbul, where she lost to Frenchwoman Aravane Rezaï in the semifinals. She then reached the semifinals of the French Open for the first time in her career (saving a match point against Patty Schnyder in the fourth round) but fell to Ivanović 6–2, 6–1.

On grass, Sharapova lost in the final of the tournament in Birmingham, United Kingdom to second seeded Jelena Janković. At Wimbledon, Sharapova lost to eventual champion Venus Williams in the fourth round 6–1, 6–3.

Sharapova's first summer hardcourt tournament was the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego, California, where she won her first title of the year, fifth Tier I career title, and 16th singles title of her career by defeating Schnyder in the final. At the tournament in Los Angeles the next week, a shin injury forced her to withdraw from her semifinal match with fellow Russian Nadia Petrova shortly before the match started. Nevertheless, she clinched the US Open Series for the first time.

Sharapova did not play again until the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow in October, where she lost to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the second round (after a first-round bye). The recurring shoulder problem then forced Sharapova to withdraw from the Zurich Open and the Generali Ladies Linz tournament in Linz, Austria, at both of which she was the defending champion. The early loss and the withdrawals caused Sharapova to fall out of the top five in the rankings for the first time in three years.

Sharapova qualified for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships only because Venus Williams withdrew from the tournament. In her Red Group round-robin matches, Sharapova beat World No. 9 Daniela Hantuchová, World No. 2 Kuznetsova, and World No. 4 Ivanović. Sharapova then defeated the runner-up of the Yellow Group, World No. 7 Anna Chakvetadze, in the semifinals 6–2, 6–2. In the final, Sharapova lost to World No. 1 Henin in 3 hours and 24 minutes. This was the 12th longest women's tour match during the open era.

Sharapova completed an abbreviated 2008 season winning three titles, maintaining an undefeated record in tournament finals and a win-loss record of 32–4.

Before Maria breezed through the Australian Open and won the title, her only warmup event was the Hong Kong event where she has reached the final many times but again came up short against six times grand slam champ Venus Williams in the final losing in straight sets 64 63.

Sharapova was the fifth-seeded player at the Australian Open. She defeated former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the second round and World No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals 6–4, 6–0, ending the latter's 32-match winning streak. Sharapova then reached her second consecutive Australian Open final when she defeated an injured Jelena Janković in the semifinals. Dropping only 10 service points during the final, Sharapova defeated Ana Ivanović and won this tournament without losing a set.

After the Australian Open, Sharapova extended her winning streak to 18 matches before finally losing. She participated for the first time in Fed Cup against Israel and won the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha. In the semifinals of the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Sharapova lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova, which was her first loss of the year. Sharapova then withdrew from the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, citing a shoulder injury.

She was the top-seeded player at the Tier II clay court tournament in Amelia Island, Florida. Her 3 hour, 26 minute third round victory was her longest ever match. The next day, she needed an additional 2 hours, 36 minutes to win her quarterfinal match. Sharapova then received a walkover to the final after Davenport withdrew from the tournament. In her first career clay court final, Sharapova defeated Dominika Cibulková.

The following week at the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Sharapova lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals 7–5, 4–6, 6–1. Sharapova had a set point at 5-4 in the first set and claimed the second set but then won only nine points in the final set. This was Sharapova's fourth consecutive loss to Williams. Sharapova was the second-seeded player at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia, formerly known as the Italian Open, in Rome. She defeated Patty Schnyder in the quarterfinals but then did not play her semifinal against Janković because of a calf injury. Sharapova nevertheless regained the World No. 1 ranking because of Henin's sudden retirement from professional tennis and request to the Women's Tennis Association that her own ranking be removed immediately.

Sharapova was the top-seeded player at the French Open and defeated compatriot Evgeniya Rodina in the first round 6–1, 3–6, 8–6 after being two points from becoming the first female top seeded player in the open era to lose in the first round of this tournament. Sharapova ultimately lost to 13th-seeded and eventual runner-up Dinara Safina in a 2 hour, 52 minute fourth round match 6–7(6), 7–6(5), 6–2. Sharapova saved two set points in the first set tiebreaker before winning the last four points to take the set and then had a match point at 5–3 in the second set and led 5–2 in the second set tiebreaker before losing the last five points of the set. Safina won the last four games and ten of the last twelve points of the match. Sharapova lost the match despite hitting 65 winners and only 39 unforced errors. She relinquished the World No. 1 ranking as a result of this loss.

Sharapova withdrew from the grass court tournament in Birmingham, United Kingdom because of a shoulder injury sustained during the French Open. At Wimbledon, Sharapova was seeded third but lost in the second round to compatriot and World No. 159 Alla Kudryavtseva 6–2, 6–4. This was her earliest loss ever at Wimbledon.

At the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, Sharapova had the chance to regain the World No. 1 ranking. In a second round match that lasted 2 hours, 55 minutes, she defeated Marta Domachowska of Poland 7–5, 5–7, 6–2. Sharapova committed 17 double faults during the match and twice needed treatment for her right shoulder. She then withdrew from the tournament to prevent the injury from becoming worse. Shortly afterwards, a magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed that Sharapova had been suffering from a torn rotator cuff since April. This injury prevented Sharapova from playing again in 2008, missing both the Beijing Olympics and the US Open. On September 26, she announced on her website that she will be taking the rest of the year off, thus missing the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships. Sharapova finished 2008 ranked World No. 9.

Sharapova withdrew from her first scheduled official tournament of the year, the Australian Open, where she was the defending champion. Her explanation was that she was not yet in match condition. Her ranking fell to World No. 17 after the Australian Open, the lowest in almost five years.

In February, Sharapova withdrew from the Open GDF Suez tournament in Paris and the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

In March, Sharapova's ranking dropped to World No. 23, her lowest since March 2004.

Sharapova returned to the tour playing only doubles at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, the first Premier Mandatory event of the year. She and partner Elena Vesnina lost in the first round of women's doubles. She then withdrew from the singles competition at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, the second Premier Mandatory event of the year, saying that she felt her shoulder needed more rest.. She is now scheduled to make her singles comeback at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, a Premier 5 event.

Sharapova's representation of Russia in the Fed Cup has been controversial. At the end of 2004, compatriot Anastasia Myskina stated she would stop playing for Russia if Sharapova joined. Nevertheless, at the end of 2005, Sharapova stated she was now keen to make her Fed Cup debut and was set to play against Belgium in April 2006, but withdrew.

Sharapova finally made her Fed Cup debut in February 2008, in Russia's quarterfinal tie against Israel. Sharapova won both her singles rubbers, against Tzipora Obziler and Shahar Pe'er, helping Russia to a 4–1 victory. Sharapova, however, did not play in Russia's Fed Cup semifinal or final later that year.

Sharapova has lived in the United States since moving there at the age of seven but retains her Russian citizenship to this day. She has a home in Manhattan Beach, California and in early 2008, purchased a penthouse apartment in Netanya, Israel. Sharapova lists fashion, movies, music and reading the Sherlock Holmes and Pippi Longstocking series as among her off-court interests, while she has also talked in the past about how she takes hip-hop dance classes.

At the 2004 US Open, Sharapova, along with several other Russian women tennis players, wore a black ribbon in observance of the tragedy after the Beslan school hostage crisis, which took place only days before. In 2005, she donated around US$50,000 to those affected by the crisis. On February 14, 2007, Sharapova was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and donated US$100,000 to UNDP Chernobyl-recovery projects. She stated at the time that she was planning to travel back to the area after Wimbledon in 2008, though it is unknown whether this happened.

In July 2008, Sharapova sent a message on DVD to the memorial service of Emily Bailes, who had performed the coin toss ahead of the 2004 Wimbledon final that Sharapova had gone on to win.

Sharapova has often implied that she desires an early retirement. Following the retirement of 25-year-old Justine Henin, Sharapova said, "If I was 25 and I'd won so many Grand Slams, I'd quit too." In an interview after the 2008 Australian Open, she balked at the idea of playing for another ten years, saying that she hoped to have "nice husband and a few kids" by then.

Arguably, the combination of her tennis success and physical beauty have enabled her to secure commercial endorsements that greatly exceed in value her tournament winnings. In April 2005, People named her one of the 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world. In 2006, Maxim ranked Sharapova the hottest athlete in the world for the fourth consecutive year. She posed in a six-page bikini photoshoot spread in the 2006 Valentine's Day issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, alongside 25 scantily-clad supermodels. In the same year, preceding the official debut of the Land Rover Freelander LR2 Maria appeared at a private presentation at the Kensington Roof Gardens held for journalists.

Sharapova used the Prince Tour Diablo for part of 2003 and then used several different Prince racquets until the US Open. She gave the racquet she used in the 2004 Wimbledon final to Regis Philbin when taping Live with Regis and Kelly. Sharapova began using the Prince Shark OS at that tournament and had a major part in the production of the Shark racquet. She then switched to the Prince O3 White racquet in January 2006. Because of Sharapova's various shoulder injuries, she switched to the Prince O3 Speedport Black Longbody in July 2008.

In 2005 during a photo shoot for Canon, a lewd photo was taken of Sharapova without her knowledge by Japanese advertising agency Dentsu. The company currently has a lawsuit related to this incident.

Sharapova has also been depicted in many tennis-related video games, along with such players as Daniela Hantuchová, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, and Anna Kournikova. Some of the titles are Top Spin (Play Station 2 version), Top Spin 2, Smash Court Tennis 3, and Virtua Tennis 3. She has also just appeared in the roster of the newest edition of the tennis-related video games, Top Spin 3, which was released on June 20, 2008.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament when the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, which ended April 5, 2009.

1 Sharapova won three qualifying matches to reach the main draw.

2 Sharapova won two qualifying matches to reach the main draw.

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Jelena Janković

Janković at the 2007 Dubai Tennis Championships

Infobox last updated on: February 16, 2009.

Janković has reached the singles final of the US Open and the singles semifinals of the Australian Open and the French Open. In 2007, she won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with British partner Jamie Murray.

Janković learned her first tennis skills in Tennis Club 'Red Star'. As a nine-and-a-half year old she was introduced to tennis by her elder brother and fitness coach Marko. She was later trained at the Tennis Academy of Nick Bollettieri. As a junior she won the 2001 Australian Open. In 2001, she started to play on the WTA Tour; she reached the second round at her first tournament at the Indian Wells Masters.

In October 2003, Janković entered the top 100 at No. 90 for the first time after winning her first ITF title in Dubai. Three months later, Janković garnered her first top 10 win against Elena Dementieva 6–1, 6–4 in the first round of the 2004 Australian Open. In May, Janković won her first WTA title, a Tier V event, in Budapest, defeating Martina Suchá in the final 7–6, 6–3. Following her win in Budapest, she reached No. 51 in the world. Elsewhere in her 2004 season, she defeated top 20 players Nadia Petrova (twice), Vera Zvonareva, Patty Schnyder and Paola Suárez. Janković finished 2004 ranked No. 28 in the world.

In March, at Dubai, she advanced to the final following Serena Williams's retirement in the semifinal. Janković then lost in the final to Lindsay Davenport 6–4, 3–6, 6–4. She made her first Tier I semifinal in Berlin, losing to Nadia Petrova 6–4, 6–7, 6–3. In June, she reached her first grass court final at Birmingham, but lost to Maria Sharapova 6–2, 4–6, 6–1. In October, Janković reached her third final of the year in Seoul, ranked No. 17 in the world, her highest ranking at that time, losing to 16-year-old Nicole Vaidišová 7–5, 6–3. Her ranking at the end of the season eclipsed her 2004 record at No. 22.

After winning her first round match at the Australian Open, Janković lost ten straight matches, not winning a match from late January into early May. She then reached the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome before losing to Venus Williams in three sets. The following week, she reached the semifinals in Strasbourg, retiring against Nicole Vaidišová in the second set. At the French Open, Janković upset 25th-seeded Marion Bartoli before losing to World No. 1 Amélie Mauresmo in the third round. At Wimbledon, she beat sixth-seeded and defending champion Venus Williams in the third round in three sets but went on to lose to ninth-seeded Anastasia Myskina in the fourth round 6–4, 7–6(5).

During the North American summer hard court season, Janković reached her fifth career final at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles, defeating tenth-seeded Ana Ivanović in the quarterfinals and unseeded Serena Williams in the semifinals before losing to third seeded Elena Dementieva in the final. The US Open saw Janković defeat World No. 10 Vaidišová in the third round, World No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round, and World No. 5 Dementieva in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Janković lost to Justine Henin 4–6, 6–4, 6–0 after Janković had led 6–4, 4–2. Janković argued with the chair umpire when the umpire refused to offer an opinion as to whether a service call had been correct, suggesting that Janković use one of her electronic challenges. Janković then lost ten consecutive games.

At Janković's first tournament following the US Open, she reached the semifinals of the Tier II China Open, losing to Mauresmo 6–1, 3–6, 7–6 after Janković served for the match at 6–5 in the third set. The following week, Janković reached the Guangzhou semifinals, retiring against Anna Chakvetadze while trailing 7-5, 2-0. In her last four tournaments of the year, she lost to Kuznetsova, Vaidišová and Olga Poutchkova in the quarterfinals of three of them and to Kuznetsova in the second round of the other one.

Janković finished the year ranked World No. 12.

To begin the year, Janković won her second title at the Tier IV ASB Classic in Auckland, defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final. At the Tier II Medibank International in Sydney, Janković defeated World No. 7 and former No.1 Martina Hingis and top-seeded Amélie Mauresmo on the way to the final where she lost to Kim Clijsters. She then reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, where she was eliminated by the eventual champion Serena Williams 6–3, 6–2. Because of her results at these tournaments, her ranking rose to World No. 10, the first time she had been included in the top ten.

At the first Tier I event of the year in Tokyo, Janković lost in the quarterfinals to countrywoman Ana Ivanović and at the Dubai Tennis Championships, she retired from her semifinal match with Mauresmo because of an ankle injury. The following week in Doha, Janković again reached the semifinals, losing to Justine Henin in three sets. After that, she played at the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California where she was eliminated by Na Li in the fourth round. To complete the spring hard court season, Janković lost in the third round of the Tier I tournament in Miami Masters to Italian Mara Santangelo in three sets despite holding a 6–2, 5–2 lead.

Janković then started her clay court season at Amelia Island, Florida, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Ivanović 7–5, 6–3. She then won her first career Tier I title, at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, defeating Venus Williams in the semifinals 3–6, 6–3, 7–6 and Dinara Safina in the final. On European red clay, Janković then lost to Henin three times and won one tournament. At the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Janković lost to Henin in the semifinals 7–5, 2–6, 6–4. At the Qatar Telecom German Open, Janković lost to Henin in the quarterfinals 3–6, 6–4, 6–4 after failing to hold a 4–0 lead in the third set. Janković next won her second career Tier I title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, defeating second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Janković was the fourth seed at the French Open, falling to Henin in the semifinals 6–2, 6–2. Her results at these six clay court tournaments improved her ranking to World No. 3.

On grass, Janković captured the DFS Classic title in Birmingham, beating top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the final. Sharapova led 3–0 in the third set before Janković rallied to win the match. This was her first career victory over Sharapova. The next week, Janković reached the final of the Ordina Open in the Netherlands and became the first player since Chris Evert in 1974 to win 50 matches in the first half of a year. Janković, suffering from a hamstring injury, lost the final to Anna Chakvetadze. At Wimbledon, Janković was the third-seed but lost in the fourth round to eventual finalist Marion Bartoli, 3–6, 7–5, 6–3. In the mixed doubles competition at Wimbledon, Janković teamed with doubles specialist Jamie Murray to win the title by beating the fifth-seed team, Jonas Björkman and Alicia Molik, in the final 6–4, 3–6, 6–1.

During the North American summer hard court season, Janković lost in the third round of the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego. Janković blamed her loss on the flu but despite her illness, she reached the semifinals of the East West Bank Classic in Carson, California the next week. There, she lost to Ivanović in three sets. Janković said, "I cannot expect myself to play my best tennis when I am still blowing my nose on each changeover with paper towels." In August, Janković reached the final of the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, where she lost to Henin on Henin's sixth match point. Janković had led 4–1 in the first set and 4–2 in the second set but was unable to maintain her lead. At the US Open, Janković lost to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals 4–6, 6–1, 7–6(4).

To complete her hectic playing year, Janković traveled to Asia for two tournaments, Europe for one tournament, back to Asia for one tournament, and finally back to Europe for two tournaments. At the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali, Janković was upset in the quarterfinals by former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport 6–4, 2–6, 6–2. This was Davenport's first singles tournament since giving birth. The following week at the China Open in Beijing, Janković received a wildcard into the tournament after top-ranked Henin withdrew due to illness. In the second round, Janković defeated Virginia Ruano Pascual 6–0, 6–0, the third time in her career she had won a match without losing a game. Janković lost only four points during the second set, all on her own serve. In the semifinals, Janković beat Davenport 6–3, 7–5 but lost in the final to Hungarian teenager Ágnes Szávay after Janković had a match point in the second set.

After a two week break, Janković then played three consecutive weeks but won only two matches. At the Tier II tournament in Stuttgart, Janković lost to Henin in the semifinals 7–6(2), 7–5. Janković then retired from her first round match in Bangkok with Yan Zi. After a first round bye at the Zürich Open, Janković lost to Vaidišová 6–4, 6–4. Janković took a three week break before playing the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Madrid. However, Janković lost all three of her round robin matches, to Henin, Chakvetadze, and Bartoli. Janković had successful nose surgery immediately after Madrid to correct a breathing problem. The surgery prevented her from practicing for three weeks.

Instead of defending her title in Auckland, Janković joined Novak Djokovic in playing for Serbia in the Hopman Cup, an exhibition team event sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation. In the final, Janković and Djokovic lost to the American team of Serena Williams and Mardy Fish, with Janković unable to play her singles rubber because of injury. In her final preparation event for the Australian Open, the Medibank International in Sydney, Janković lost in the quarterfinals to Nicole Vaidišová. Her first match at the Australian Open was against Tamira Paszek, which Janković won in three sets in over three hours. Both players needed medical attention during the final set. Janković then reached the quarterfinals for the first time, defeating defending champion Serena Williams reaching her third career Grand Slam singles semifinal where she lost to Maria Sharapova 6–3, 6–1.

Janković then played two tournaments in the Middle East. At the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, Janković lost in the quarterfinals to Li Na 6–3, 6–4. The next week at the Tier II Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Janković lost in the semifinals to Svetlana Kuznetsova 5–7, 6–4, 6–3. Janković played one more Asian event, the Tier II Canara Bank Bangalore Open in India. Although she was the top seeded player, she lost in the quarterfinals to Yan Zi of China 6–3, 3–6, 6–3. At the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Janković was the third seed and defeated 24th-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals when Davenport retired from the match with a shoulder and back injury after losing the first set. Janković then lost to fellow Serb Ana Ivanović in the semifinals 7–6(3), 6–3. The following fortnight, Janković was the runner-up at the Miami Masters, losing to Serena Williams 6–1, 5–7, 6–3 after Williams was unable to convert on seven match points in the third set.

Janković lost in the quarterfinals of her next two Tier I tournaments, the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina (where she was defending champion) and the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin. Janković then successfully defended her Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia title in Rome. She defeated Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, advanced by walkover against Sharapova in the semifinals, and defeated French teenager Alizé Cornet in the final. This was Janković's first singles title of the year. At the French Open in Paris, Janković lost in three sets to Ivanović. Janković failed to sustain leads of 3–0 in the first set and 3–1 in the third set, although she did win the second set after trailing 3–1. Janković committed 51 unforced errors compared to 28 winners during the match.

On grass, Janković withdrew from the DFS Classic in Birmingham, United Kingdom because of an arm injury sustained during the French Open. Nevertheless, she replaced Sharapova as World No. 2 following the tournament. At Wimbledon, Janković was the second seeded player and defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the third round despite injuring her left knee. Because of early round losses by other highly ranked players, Janković only needed to reach the semifinals to replace Ivanović as World No. 1. However, she lost to Tamarine Tanasugarn in the fourth round 6–3, 6–2. Janković lost her third opportunity to grasp the World No. 1 ranking at the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles when she lost to Dinara Safina in the semifinals 7–6(3), 6–1.

At the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, Janković had a fourth chance to claim the World No. 1 ranking. Because Ivanović had lost in the third round, Janković only needed to reach the final to replace Ivanović as the top ranked player. However, Janković lost in the quarterfinals to Dominika Cibulková 7–5, 6–2 after Janković had led 4–0 in the first set. After the match, Janković said, "At the moment I don't deserve the top spot. I am not in the best shape, I am not at my highest level". Despite the loss, Janković moved up to World No. 1 on August 11, 2008. She is the 18th woman to have been ranked World No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association. She is the first woman to have attained that ranking without ever having reached a Grand Slam final and only the third woman (the others being Amélie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters) to have become World No. 1 without first winning a Grand Slam title. Serbia is only the third nation (the others being Belgium and the United States) to have had consecutive World No. 1 female players. Janković then lost her World No. 1 ranking on August 18, 2008, to Ivanović.

At the Beijing Olympics, Janković was seeded second and played the tournament with a sore right calf muscle that caused her to consider withdrawing. Janković defeated Cibulková in the third round but lost to sixth seed and eventual runner-up Safina in the quarterfinals in three sets.

Janković's next tournament was the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open. She defeated fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva in the semifinals to reach her first Grand Slam final, where she lost to fourth-seeded Serena Williams 6–4, 7–5. Janković then lost in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo to Svetlana Kuznetsova 2–6, 7–5, 7–5. Janković scored a win over Kuznetsova the next week though, when she beat her 6–3, 6–2 in the final of the China Open. In the semifinal, she defeated Olympic bronze medalist, Vera Zvonareva, in three sets. Janković played in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where she defeated Venus Williams in the semifinals 6–7(8), 7–5, 6–2, and Nadia Petrova in the final 6–4, 6–3. This was her second title in two weeks. After that, she returned to World No. 1 spot on October 6.

In the Kremlin Cup, Janković defeated Vera Dushevina 6–7(6), 6–3, 6–2 in round two after a first round bye. In the quarterfinals, she beat Italian wild-card, Flavia Pennetta, 7–6(6), 6–3. She defeated Elena Dementieva in the semifinals 0–6, 6–1, 6–0 before triumphing against Vera Zvonareva in the final, 6–2, 6–4 for her third title in three weeks, the first time for a player on the WTA tour to do so since 2005. Because of her result in the Kremlin Cup, this made Janković the only female in 2008 to make all quarter-finals or better in Tier I events.

Janković's 12-match winning streak came to an end at the Zürich Open where, playing in her fifth event in five weeks, she lost to eventual runner-up Flavia Pennetta 5–7, 6–3, 6–3 in the second round after an injury to her left wrist at the end of the first set and a cut on her knee, where the trainer was called, in the second. It was just her second pre-quarterfinal loss of the year, the other being at Wimbledon.

In the first round-robin match of the 2008 WTA Tour Championships held in Doha, Qatar, Janković saw off Ana Ivanović, for the first time since the 2006 East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles. This was also her first win at a WTA Tour Championships event. In the second round-robin match she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7–6, 6–4, thus confirming her place in the semifinals. She lost her third round-robin match, which would determine whether she played Elena Dementieva or Venus Williams, to Vera Zvonareva, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4. She lost in the semifinals, to Williams, 6–2, 2–6, 6–3, and ended the year as World No. 1. Jankovic was later named the ITF World Champion for her performances in 2008.

Janković started the year at the JB Group Classic, an exhibition prior to the Australian Open. She was the top seed of Team Europe. She started by winning a doubles match in which she was paired with Portuguese player Michelle Larcher de Brito. The team defeated Team Americas' World No. 6 Venus Williams and newcomer to the women's tour, Coco Vandeweghe, 6–4, 7–5. Janković then lost to Williams in singles 6–2, 6–2. Janković later withdrew from the remainder of the tournament because of illness.

Janković was seeded first at the Australian Open in Melbourne, defeating Yvonne Meusburger in the first round and hitting 27 winners to Meusburger's three. Janković then beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in the second round and Ai Sugiyama in the third round. Sixteenth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France then upset Janković in the fourth round 6–1, 6–4. Bartoli hit 34 winners compared to Janković's 17 and won 81% of her first serve points compared to Janković's 56%. Janković lost her World No. 1 ranking to Serena Williams as a result.

Her next Women's Tennis Association event was the Open GDF SUEZ tournament in Paris, where she entered as a wildcard and was the second seeded player. In the first round, Janković beat Francesca Schiavone and in the second round, she beat Li Na. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Alizé Cornet 5–7, 6–4, 6–4 but then lost to Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals 6–2, 0–6, 6–1.

Janković had a first round bye at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, where she was seeded third. She was upset by Kaia Kanepi in the third round, 6–2, 7–5, in what she called "the worst match of my career". She was the second seeded player at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, a Premier Mandatory tournament. She received a bye in the first round before losing in the second round to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6–4, 6–4. After the match, she conceded that she has been struggling with her confidence, saying "I need a lot of work". Janković then lost in the second round of the next Premier Mandatory tournament, the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, to Gisela Dulko 6–4, 7–6(5) after Janković failed to hold leads of 5–2 in the second set and 5–2 in the tiebreaker.

Janković was born in Belgrade, in then Yugoslavia, now Serbia, as the third child of Veselin and Snežana Janković, both economists. Her mother is from Serbia and her father is from Montenegro (Vasojevići clan). She also has two brothers, Marko and Stefan. She is a student at the Megatrend University in Belgrade, studying economics; however, she has put her course of study on indefinite hold as she continues to pursue her tennis career. She trained at tennis club "Crvena Zvezda".

At Wimbledon 2007, in a mixed doubles match at the semi-final stage she invited a ballboy to come and sit with her and began asking him questions, much to the crowd's amusement. Though the boy was clearly enjoying himself, he swiftly jumped out of the chair when Jamie Murray returned from his toilet break. The British press have linked Janković and Murray romantically but she has remained coy about their relationship, though she joked in interviews that she used kisses as a way of motivating the Scot.

Off-court, Janković has done work in film, starring in Jelenin svet (Jelena's World) in 2008, a documentary about her life. Janković portrayed herself; Justine Henin, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanović and other notable players also featured. In September 2008, Janković announced that she has been dating Montenegrian water polo player Mlađan Janović since August 2008. The pair had been dating since the 2008 Summer Olympics.

On December 5, 2007, Janković became a UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia, for Children's Fund. "I am happy to have become a UNICEF ambassador for Serbia. This is a great honour for me and I will try to justify the role that has been given to me", she said. Janković is the second Serbian tennis star to have volunteered to help promote the rights of children and collect funds for UNICEF after Ana Ivanović became an ambassador in September.

Janković had endorsed Reebok sportswear, and had her own line with them for her tournament wear, but now is with ANTA Sports. Janković also has an endorsement with Prince Sports and now uses the Prince O3 Speedport Pro White Racquet after formerly using the Prince O3 Red Racquet. She is the face of the Serbian fashion design company Mona with her own line of clothing. Janković recently signed up to endorse Aqua Viva Hydroactive Water. Her picture will appear on the bottles for a limited timeand she will now feature in a TV advertisement. She is also Face of new Orbit endorsement.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, which ended April 5, 2009.

Players who have been ranked World No. 1 are in boldface.

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Source : Wikipedia