Sharapova Qualifies For Madrid
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida Maria Sharapova, the 2006 US Open Champion and winner of two Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles in 2006, has joined Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo in qualifying for the singles event at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place at Madrid Arena in the Spanish capital, November 7-12.
The Russian global megastar, recent US Open champion and winner of the Acura Classic in San Diego and Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, is currently in third place on the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships with 2727 points. During the course of her four year professional career, Sharapova has claimed 13 singles titles, including the 2006 US Open and 2004 Wimbledon, attained the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No. 1 ranking, and won over $7 million in prize money on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Sharapovas on court success has been matched by her off court popularity, where she was recently named as the richest female athlete, earning over $24 million this year.
"Making it to the Sony Ericsson Championships each year is always a top goal of mine," said Sharapova. "I played some of my best matches there in 2004 and 2005 and I hope 2006 will be no exception for me. I was very excited to visit Madrid earlier this year and meet with everyone associated with the event. I think it will be a terrific showcase for womens tennis again this year."
"Maria Sharapova has had a fantastic 2006 season, and her qualification for the Sony Ericsson Championships is a credit to her great on-court performances and consistency," said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "With Maria joining Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin-Hardenne in Madrid, Spanish tennis fans are sure to witness some great rivalries in action and the very best of womens tennis come November."
"Sony Ericsson is a proud sponsor of the WTA Tour and the Sony Ericsson Championships. As well as featuring the worlds best players, this years Championships will be one of the most fan interactive, innovative and entertaining season-ending event that womens tennis has ever witnessed," said Dee Dutta, CVP and Head of Marketing at Sony Ericsson. "The Sony Ericsson Championships will bring together the best of the best; its a week not to be missed."
"I'm thrilled to know that Maria has qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid," said Spanish tennis legend and Sony Ericsson Championships tournament director Manolo Santana. "Marias impressive win at the US Open is a defining moment for her as a player and if she keeps this level I am sure she will be battling for the title come the final weekend in Madrid. Without a doubt having Maria is a great attraction for the fans and after her visit in May we all look forward to see her back".
Sharapova has had an exceptionally consistent season, reaching the semi-finals or better at nine of 10 events coming into the US Open, including winning Tier I titles at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells and the Acura Classic in San Diego. She has won 13 career singles titles in total and reached a career high ranking No. 1 in the world for seven weeks in 2005, the fifth youngest player of all-time to do so.
The Sony Ericsson Championships will gather the Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the regular 2006 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season as they battle it out for the season-ending titles and a share of the $3-million prize purse. The defending champions are Mauresmo (singles) and Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur (doubles).