Five-time grand slam winner and former world number one Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis.
The 32-year-old Russian announced her move with a soul-baring article in Vanity Fair.
“How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known? How do you walk away from the courts you’ve trained on since you were a little girl, the game that you love — one which brought you untold tears and unspeakable joys — a sport where you found a family, along with fans who rallied behind you for more than 28 years?
“I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis — I’m saying goodbye,” she wrote.
Maria Sharapova said she was walking away from the only life she’d known. Picture: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, FileSource:AP
Sharapova will go down as one of the greats of the era – only Serena and Venus Williams have won more slam titles among current players.
But her impact on court was trumped by her profile off it, with the Russian the world’s highest-earning female athlete for much of her career.
She made herself a global star by winning Wimbledon aged 17 in 2004 and added the US Open title in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 before twice lifting the trophy at Roland Garros, in 2012 and 2014.
In 2016 her reputation was tarnished when she was banned from the sport for 15 months, on appeal, after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Recently, she has struggled with chronic shoulder problems this year and has slumped to 373 in the rankings.
In the emotional article, Sharapova spoke of how the tennis court revealed her “true essence” and she was lucky to have found a place she felt so comfortable.
“One of the keys to my success was that I never looked back and I never looked forward. I believed that if I kept grinding and grinding, I could push myself to an incredible place. But there is no mastering tennis—you must simply keep heeding the demands of the court while trying to quiet those incessant thoughts in the back of your mind:
“Did you do enough—and more—to prepare for your next opponent?
“You’ve taken a few days off—your body’s losing that edge.
“That extra slice of pizza? Better make up for it with a great morning session.
“Listening to this voice so intimately, anticipating its every ebb and flow, is also how I accepted those final signals when they came,” she said.
Maria Sharapova kisses the women’s singles championship trophy at the U.S .Open tennis tournament in New York in 2006. Picture: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File.Source:AP
– With wires
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