Maria Sharapova Announces Her Retirement From Tennis

2018 Australian Open - Day 2

Maria Sharapova is hanging up her tennis racket after an amazing career in which she won five Grand Slam titles. Sharapova made the announcement in an emotional letter published by Vanity Fair.

The 32-year-old star reflected on her career and her journey, which began in Sochi, Russia, and brought her to some of the biggest stages in the world.

"The first courts I ever played on were uneven concrete with faded lines. Over time, they became muddy clay and the most gorgeous, manicured grass your feet could ever step upon. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever win on the sport's biggest stages—and on every surface."

Sharapova thrived in the spotlight, winning her first Grand Slam title when she was just 17, defeating Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2004. In 2006, she won the U.S. Open and then took home the title at the Australian Open two years later. She also won the French Open twice, in 2012 and 2014.

Her career was slowed by injuries, and in 2016 she received a 15-month ban for using a banned substance. She returned the court in 2017 but was never the same player. She said that after losing 6-1, 6-1 to Serena at the 2019 U.S. Open, she knew it was time to retire.

"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."

Overall she won 36 titles and had a career record of 645-171.

She wrote, "That relentless chase for victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. In the meantime, there are a few simple things I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways. Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!)."

Photo: Getty Images

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