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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Maria Sharapova to become 15th Queen of Tennis next week

Maria Sharapova became the true tennis star of the world last season

The women's tennis of Russia is currently expecting a historical event next Monday. On August 22 Maria Sharapova will take the top position on the BTA rating, which enlists 17 best results achieved over the recent 52 weeks. It became known after Lindsay Davenport (USA), the leader of the world classification system, refused to participate in the first category $1.3 million tennis tournament, which opened in Canada yesterday.

Simple mathematical calculations show that Davenport's points, which she won in 2004 (during the third week of August at the competition in Cincinnatti) will vanish during the forthcoming seven days. Several tournaments have changed places this season, which caused a slight confusion. The points, which Lindsay won in Cincinnatti, would have to be defended in Canada.

Maria Sharapova has had several opportunities to ascend the throne of women's tennis before. It seems, however, that Sharapova is not in a hurry at all, as if she knows that she will be the best soon anyway. According to the official information, Sharapova did not play in San Diego on account of a trauma; she did not play Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) in the quarterfinals in Los Angeles last week either. If Maria had won the game, she would have become the strongest tennis player in the world already.

Sharapova had to take immense efforts to beat her country-fellow, Anna Chakvetadze, in the tournament, which lasted for 180 minutes. When the game was over, Maria complained of flu consequences and muscle pains and said that she would probably give up the struggle in the quarterfinals (she was most likely aware of Lindsay Davenport's intention not to perform in Canada). Maria Sharapova will be announced the queen of tennis on August 22, taking into consideration the list of her rivals in the forthcoming tournament.

The Women's Tennis Association introduced the computerized system of rating calculations 30 years ago. The title of the world's best tennis player was originally awarded to US citizen Chris Evert on 3 November 1975, who managed to keep her place for 140 weeks in a row. There were only two women, who could overcome Evert's accomplishment: Czech-born Martina Navratilova (156 weeks in 1982 and 1985) and German tennis star Steffi Graf (186 weeks, 1987-1991). Graf holds the record of staying on the top of the world rating: 377 weeks from 17 August 1987 to 30 March 1997. Yugoslavian Monica Seles and Aranta Sanchez Vicario (Spain) interrupted Steffi Graf's leadership over a decade. Fourteen girls have topped the Table of Ranks in total; Maria Sharapova will become the 15th on August 22.

It took Sharapova only four seasons to climb all the way up to the top of the world tennis rating. The Siberian girl clutched her first medals in 2002 at satellite tournaments in Japan, Canada and the USA. In January of 2003 Maria played in Grand Slam tournaments and celebrated her victory at BTA tournaments in Tokyo and Quebec.

Maria Sharapova became the true tennis star of the world last season, when she accomplished amazing results having won the BTA Championship and Wimbledon. She became one of the world's highest-paid tennis players too. None of the Russian tennis players has ever managed to win Australia Open before.  Russian players, however, topped all other Grand Slam tournaments last season: Anastasia Myskina won the French Open title at Roland Garros in Paris, Sharapova won Wimbledon, whereas Svetlana Kuznetsova became the leader of US Open.

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