Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32.
Mario Sharapova who tested positive for the drug meldonium in 2016 and was
banned for two years before it was later reduced to 15 months on appeal disclosed
the news to her fans in an emotional message.
Sharapova told Vanity Fair on Wednesday:
“I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye.
“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’ll miss the training and my daily routine: Waking up at dawn, lacing my left shoe before my right, and closing the court’s gate before I hit my first ball of the day.
“I’ll miss my team, my coaches. I’ll miss the moments sitting with my father on the practice court bench. The handshakes-win or lose-and the athletes, whether they knew it or not, who pushed me to be my best.
“Looking back now, I realise 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.”
The former world No 1, won the Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17 years but has struggled with ongoing problems on her shoulder which saw her slumped to 373 in the rankings.