Hard work, dedication and life perspective aid Sharapova

The outside world sees her as merely the combination of ability and beauty. But there's more to Maria Sharapova, who just won her third career Grand Slam at the Australian Open, than meets the eye. Life lessons, loss and scrutiny have pushed her to dig deep and conquer.

Updated: January 26, 2008, 5:49 AM ET
By Bonnie D. Ford | ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- At 20 years old, with a third Grand Slam trophy in hand and a platinum-level endorsement portfolio, it may look as if Maria Sharapova is capable of insulating herself from life's run-of-the-mill turbulence.

But moments after her win in the Australian Open final, Sharapova chose to dwell on the losses that affected her deeply last year.

"I gained a whole new perspective on life," said the statuesque Russian, the color still high in her ...

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