The family then moved on to the Black Sea resort of Sochi, before heading to Florida when Sharapova was just six to try to carve out a professional tennis career. Mum stayed in Russia, and the family was not reunited for the best part of two years.
Sharapova had signed with Nike and IMG by the age of 17, and was a Wimbledon champion just six years later. She won three of her Grand Slams by the age of 21, and even though two French Open titles were to follow – arguably her greatest achievement on a surface on which she once said she felt like a “cow on ice” – her shoulder was becoming an increasing hindrance.
And then came the positive test for meldonium – a heart disease drug – at the Australian Open. In the evidence she presented at her tribunal, Sharapova said the drug was prescribed in 2016 by a doctor in Moscow to treat a mineral metabolism disorder, which had left her prone to colds and tonsil infections.