Friday, August 18, 2006
Maria Sharapova was born on April 19, 1987 in Nyagan, a town in western Siberia, where her parents, Yuri and Yelena, had fled from Belarus a year earlier to avoid radiation from Chernobyl. Still too close to the disaster site, her family left their home as refugees again when she was two-years-old. In 1989, the Sharapovs (Maria uses the feminine Sharapova) settled for a while in the Black Sea town of Sochi, known then as a resort village and home of Russian tennis light, Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Yuri had been an engineer in Nyagan. But as the family bounced from on home to the next, he did anything he could just to keep them together.