Sharapova the supernova

Sweet seventeen as Centre Court salutes dazzling new star

From Siberian princess to Queen of Wimbledon. Maria Sharapova yesterday ascended to the throne at only 17 years old by striding sure-footed past Serena Williams.

With her 6-1 6-4 victory, Sharapova became the first Russian to win a title on the lawns of the All England club. Even though it was her first Grand Slam final and she was facing a woman who counts two Wimbledon crowns among her six Grand Slam titles, her success was rarely in doubt from the moment she broke Williams' serve in the fourth game of the match to lead 3-1. When she dropped her serve in the second set, she broke straight back, broke Williams again and strode on to take the title.

But she had feared she might not be able to play. "Last night I got a terrible sore throat," she said. "And I thought I was going to get sick. I mean a Wimbledon final, I was absolutely in tears because I didn't think anything like this could happen. I didn't think I'd be ready to play a Wimbledon final and win. It's amazing."

She could hardly believe she had achieved her dream. "When I came off court and saw my name on the board of champions that's when I realised I'd won. I was looking at the trophy. I mean it's in my hands, actually in my hands."

Nerveless on court, Sharapova hides her ready smile during matches, but in her moment of triumph she was all girlish charm, sinking to her knees and covering her face with her hands as if unable to believe what she had achieved. She then followed a well-worn path up through the crowd ­ first cut by Pat Cash on winning the men's title in 1987 ­ to hug her father, Yuri, and fail to raise her mother, Yelena, on his mobile phone.

The girl from Nyagan, with her coltish long legs and long blonde hair, had captured the hearts of the Wimbledon crowd over the past two weeks. On accepting the winner's trophy ­ the Venus Rosewater dish ­ from the Duke of Kent, she milked their applause and appreciation, saying: "I want to cut up this trophy and give it to everybody."

But this was the time to thank those who have helped her, principally her parents. "I owe my mum and dad so much. Me and my dad have been through this together all through my career. Playing is a lot easier, believe me," she said.

Sharapova's journey through the tennis world started in Moscow when she played in an exhibition event that featured Martina Navratilova (who, at 47, bid a final farewell to Wimbledon yesterday). Her father then took her to the United States at the age of seven with the little money he and his wife had managed to save. There she took up a place at Nick Bollettieri's famous academy in Florida, working initially without the comfort of her mother, who was trapped in Russia by lack of money and problems obtaining an American visa. Yesterday Sharapova gained the first of what should be many major returns on that sacrifice.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week