Maria Sharapova Announces Retirement From Tennis After 28 Years

After 28 years and five grand slam wins, Maria Sharapova has announced that she is retiring from tennis.

“How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known?” the 32-year-old opened her essay in Vanity Fair, where she revealed her decision. “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.”

WATCH: Maria Sharapova May Be Dating Prince William’s Friend Alexander Gilkes

Maria’s nearly three decade-long run in tennis began when she was only 17. The then teenager shocked the world when she beat Serena Williams, the no.1 seed in the final of Wimbledon, and clinched her first grand slam win.

Maria would go on to win two French Opens, one Australian open, and a US Open title. The last time the Russian athlete appeared on the court was at the 2020 Australian Open in January, when she was knocked out in the first round.

But Maria shared that one of her final inklings that her tennis journey may be coming to an end came last August when she was preparing to compete in the US Open. “Behind closed doors, thirty minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” Maria wrote. “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,” she later continued.

READ: Maria Sharapova Announces She Failed Drug Test

Maria’s career was not without controversy—in 2016, she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium and was subsequently banned from the sport for 15 months.

Regardless, Maria will go down as one of the top tennis players of all time. And while she will miss the game “everyday,” Maria knows she is ready for new challenges.

“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.”

Read More

How to Recreate Venus Williams’s 2022 US Open Look: Shop Her EleVen by Venus Williams Collection