Russian superstar, Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32.
The five-times grand slam champion and former world No 1 confirmed her retirement today in an emotional essay on vanityfair.com.
“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.”
“Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain. My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible.
“After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain – to compete on a different type of terrain.
“That relentless chase for victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
“In the meantime, there are a few simple things I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways. Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!)”
The Russian won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17 and completed the career slam, all four major titles by winning the French Open in 2012.
In 2016, she tested positive for meldonium and was given a two-year ban which was later reduced to 15 months from the sport. After returning from her ban in 2017, Sharapova struggled with form and injuries.
She also dropped to 373 in the world rankings, her lowest ranking since August 2002, and has lost in the first round of her previous three Grand Slam tournaments.