Maria Sharapova 'says goodbye' to tennis as she announces her retirement

26 February 2020, 16:10

Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis
Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of just 32.

The five-time grand slam champion made the decision after suffering from chronic shoulder problems and slumping to 373 in the world rankings.

Sharapova wrote in an emotional Vanity Fair essay: "Tennis - I'm saying goodbye."

She wrote: "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."

Sharapova lifting the Wimbledon trophy in 2004 after beating Serena Williams
Sharapova lifting the Wimbledon trophy in 2004 after beating Serena Williams. Picture: PA

The Russian-American star said her "body had become a distraction" following multiple surgical procedures and injuries.

She added: "In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life. I’ll miss it everyday. I’ll miss the training and my daily routine ... I’ll miss my team, my coaches."

Sharapova has been one of the greats of her era, with only Serena and Venus Williams winning more slam singles titles, out of the current crop of players in the women's game, than the 32-year-old.

Her profile off the court was equally as impressive, with the Russian-American star being the world's highest-earning female athlete for much of her career, amassing just shy of $39million in prize money throughout her career.

At the age of just 17, Sharapova took the tennis world by storm after beating reigning Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in straight sets 6-1 and 6-4, becoming the third-youngest women's champion in the tournament's history.

Sharapova played the final match of her career at the Australian Open in January
Sharapova played the final match of her career at the Australian Open in January. Picture: PA

She added the US Open title in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008 before twice lifting the trophy at France's Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014.

Sharapova is one of just 10 women to win all four grand slam singles titles.

However, in 2016, the former world number one became embroiled in a drug scandal.

After failing a doping test for the cardiac drug Meldonium, which had been added to the banned list at the start of that year, Sharapova was banned for two years, reduced to 15 months on appeal.

She returned to action in April 2017 but was unable to reach her previous heights, peaking at a high of 21 in the rankings and reaching just one more grand slam quarter-final.

Sharapova only won two of her 22 battles against Serena Williams
Sharapova only won two of her 22 battles against Serena Williams. Picture: PA

Last year saw the tennis star limited to just eight tournaments, with her final match coming against Donna Vekic in the first round of the Australian Open in January, which she lost in straight sets.

Sharapova cited last August's US Open, when she lost heavily to Serena Williams in the opening round, as a "final signal."

She wrote: "Behind closed doors, 30 minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match.

"Shoulder injuries are nothing new for me - over time my tendons have frayed like a string. I've had multiple surgeries - once in 2008, another procedure last year - and spent countless months in physical therapy.

"Just stepping onto the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction."

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Cambodian officers burn drugs inside a brick kiln during a drug destruction ceremony

Cambodia burns £55m of seized illegal drugs

Retired army general Paul Nakasone in army uniform

OpenAI appoints former top US cyberwarrior and ex-army general to its board

Chinese journalist Huang Xueqin standing in front of a green wall and holding up a #MeToo sign in Singapore in 2017

Chinese journalist who promoted #MeToo jailed

Vladimir Putin

Putin pledges ceasefire in Ukraine if Kyiv withdraws troops and drops Nato bid

Rishi Sunak meets the Pope

Francis becomes first Pope to address G7

Chris Rock and Conan O'Brien at the Vatican

100 comedians walk into the Vatican…

Scene outside the mortuary from above

Rising violence causes mortuary to overflow in Ecuadorian city

Mohamed Bazoum

Niger’s highest court lifts immunity of deposed president Mohamed Bazoum

Aimee Betro is accused of an attempted murder-for-hire in Birmingham

Mother of 'hit woman in hijab' issues stark warning to police as international manhunt continues

Cyril Ramaphosa raises his hand

Ramaphosa set for re-election after second-biggest party pledges backing

Singapore's goalkeeper makes a save

Chinese football fans pour money into food stall run by Singapore’s goalkeeper

Five Scotland fans were injured after their car was involved in a head-on collision in Germany

Five Scotland fans injured in horror crash after 'forgetting Germany drives on right'

More than a dozen employees were fired following claims about 'simulated' activity, according to reports.

‘Mouse jiggling’ employees sacked from major US bank after using tech to make it seem like they were working

Friends Matthew Steward and Cory Dove died in Turkey

Two British friends killed in quad bike horror crash in Turkey after smashing into 'hotel bus' on family holiday

Muslim pilgrims under umbrellas against the heat

Muslims start the Hajj against the backdrop of Israel-Hamas war

REM reunited

REM reunite at Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony