I love tennis, but I’ve never been a particular fan of Maria (or Masha, as I learned from the book) Sharapova. Despite this, I couldn’t put down ‘Unstoppable’. I was hooked from the first word to the last. This book is not your usual memoir of a top professional tennis player. Its raw honesty allows you to have a rare and unique glimpse into the world of professional tennis and what it takes to get into it.
Let me start this review by praising Yuri Sharapov, Maria’s dad. This memoir superbly describes the struggle he had on his hands. If you’re a parent thinking about teaching your extremely talented and willing little one to play tennis with some high hopes for the future, this book is the ultimate must read for you. You can find out a lot about the true extent you have to be prepared to go in order to give your offspring a realistic chance to make it to the ranks of the pros.
What Maria Sharapova’s father achieved is nothing short of unbelievably amazing. He demonstrated total commitment, dedication, and determination to help his daughter achieve his ultimate dream. Starting from living in poverty in an isolated city in the collapsing Soviet Union, he made his daughter the most celebrated young champion of Wimbledon in just 13 years.
This book is not for you if you want to read tennis gossip. It’s edited to perfection and shows that the author is as focused on emphasizing the important things surrounding professional tennis as she usually is on the tennis court to win her next point. Her insights make this memoir ‘unputdownable’.
Particularly interesting parts are her truly honest descriptions of her encounters with Serena Williams. I’ve been a great fan of Serena, and Maria’s account of why she thinks she has such a bad – 2 to 19 up to date – record against her was really thought provoking for me. I might have even figured out what may help her to beat Serena in the future. However, my theory is beyond the extent of this review. Then there are some parts in this autobiography where I had to laugh out loud. One of it was the story of hiring and firing Jimmy Connor as a coach.
If there is only one good thing which came out of Maria Sharapova’s unfair doping ban, then it’s the superb quality of this memoir. She managed to find the time to make it brilliant. On the downside the millions of tennis fans had to miss watching her play for 15 whole months which included the Rio Olympics.
The simple fact that the medication she occasionally took for more than a decade was legal up to the beginning of 2016, and she had not a single warning from the authorities during the year of 2015, tells it all. I’m amazed that WADA doesn’t test urine samples for newly added banned substances during notice periods. A single warning from WADA in 2015 would have been enough for her to avoid this unnecessary 15 months ban.
Recently even some of Maria’s WTA competitors are calling her a doper. I strongly recommend them to read at least the last few pages of this book which includes the findings of the CAS panel. The only thing these girls prove is that they’re scared of being no match for Sharapova on the court, so they have to try to ‘put her down’ outside the court.
For Masha I have this message:
Congratulations for reaching round 4 in the 2017 US Open after that long break and multiple injuries. Carry on, girl! Beat them all!