Five-time Grand Slam champion, a hero to many aspirants, Maria Sharapova has decided to hang her boots after playing professionally for 15 years. She announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32. A former world No 1, she has been dealing with shoulder problems for years now. Though, repeated injuries are the main factors behind her decisions, but she also revealed how a defeat against Serena Williams at the Australian Open 2020 showed her the sign to call it a quits now. “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye,” she said.
The tennis legend took to her Instagram account to share the news with the world. She claimed that the last US Open outing gave her “the final signal”.
- Maria Sharapova, who won her maiden Grand Slam title in 2004, announced retirement from tennis at the age of 32.
- “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye,” Sharapova said.
- Maria Sharapova last played at Australian Open 2020 where she was defeated by Serena Williams.
“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,” she further added.
Sharapova played only two matches this season and lost both. She made a solid impact in 2004 when she clinched her maiden Grand Slam title in Wimbledon at the age of 17. Later, she went on to win the French Open twice as well as both the Australian and French Open. She stood tall as one of just 10 women to have achieved a career Grand Slam.
Writing for Vogue, Sharapova said, “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?”
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Here are some fascinating facts about the tennis star:
- Sharapova was only four when she started off learning tennis from her father.
- Veteran Russian coach Yuri Yutkin also coached her.
- She made her professional debut at her first WTA tournament at the Pacific Life Open in 2002.
- The same year, Sharapova made it to the finals of the girls’ singles events at the Australian Open and the Wimbledon.
- She made her debut in the Australian Open and the French Open in 2003.
- In the same year after winning her first WTA title at the Japan Open Tennis Championships, she was awarded the WTA Newcomer of the Year.
- In 2004, she won her first Grand Slam title by defeating the defending champion Serena Williams at the Wimbledon. She became the second Russian woman after Anastasia Myskina to win a Grand Slam single’s title. She also became the third-youngest woman to win at Wimbledon.
- In 2005, Sharapova became the first Russian woman to claim the World No. 1 ranking but within a week she lost it to American tennis star Lindsay Davenport after the latter won the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament.
- She won her fifth Grand Slam title after defeating Simona Halep in the finals of the French Open, 2014. After that, she was barred from the tennis court due to a doping ban.
- The 32-year-old made a comeback after 18-month drug ban in 2017.
Feature Image Credit: ABS-CBN News