After 28 years of tennis and five grand slam titles, Maria Sharapova has decided to step away from the tennis tour.
The 32-year-old Russian wrote an essay which was published on the Vanity Fair website.
She opened by saying “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.”
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Sharapova enjoyed early success in her career winning the Wimbledon title in 2004 as a 17-year-old. Two years later she won the US Open. In early 2008 she won the Australian Open and then she completed a career Grand Slam in 2012 after claiming the first of two French Open titles. Her last came in 2014.
The determined Russian was world no. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005 and last held the top spot on June 25, 2012.
Things started to go south for Sharapova after her admission that she had tested positive for the recently banned substance Meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, where she had reached the quarterfinals. A 24-month suspension—later reduced to 15 months.
She won a total of 36 singles career titles, 645 singles matches and more than $38 million in on-court prize money. The Russian also amassed a fortune away from the court through endorsement and business.
Sharapova hinted at what will be in her future, ”
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!).
Tennis showed me the world—and it showed me what I was made of. It’s how I tested myself and how I measured my growth. And so in whatever I might choose for my next chapter, my next mountain, I’ll still be pushing. I’ll still be climbing. I’ll still be growing.”
In the end her shoulder injuries became too much to overcome and that was where she said, “My body had become a distraction.”
All the best to Maria in what might come next.