Maria Sharapova, the five-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, has called it quits.
The 32-year-old made the announcement not at a press conference, but in an essay she wrote for Vanity Fair and Vogue. Her choice of venue shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise. Off the court, Sharapova has built a successful career in business and modeling.
In walking away from her 19-year professional career, she spoke directly to the game she loves, saying, “Tennis — I’m saying goodbye.” “How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known?” Sharapova asks in her essay published Wednesday.
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She describes the extremes of the game – the “untold tears and unspeakable joys” it brought her, adding that it’s “a sport where [she] found a family, along with fans who rallied [her] for more than 28 years.”
The Russian-born Sharapova turned professional in 2001 at the age of 14.
She conquered Wimbledon three years later, in 2004, by upsetting Serena Williams in the final. She outlasted all other competitors to win the U.S. Open in 2006 and then the Australian Open in 2008. Her final Grand Slam titles came at Roland-Garros, winning the French Open in both 2012 and 2014.
The 6-foot-2-inch powerhouse was known for her grit and her groundstrokes and her grunting.
She racked up a career singles record of 645-171, including 36 titles, according to the Women’s Tennis Association.
Sharapovova, who was No. 1 in 2005, was most recently ranked as the No. 373 ranked singles player in the world, according to the WTA.
In recent times, Sharapova has been slowed by shoulder injures, ESPN reports, undergoing multiple surgeries. She lost both games she’s played this year, including the first round of the Australian Open, losing in straight sets to Donna Vekic of Croatia, 6-3, 6-4.
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Sharapova said for now, she’s looking forward to “a sense of stillness,” such as the simple pleasure of lingering over a cup of coffee in the morning.