Maria Sharapova Announces Tennis Retirement at Age 32; Won 5 Grand Slams

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2020

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Maria Sharapova of Russia in between points in her first round match against Donna Vekic of Croatia
on day two of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Chaz Niell/Getty Images)
Chaz Niell/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova has called time on her tennis career at the age of 32 after winning five Grand Slam titles.

In an essay for Vanity Fair and Vogue, the Russian superstar wrote: "Tennis—I'm saying goodbye." 

She continued, stating that after a string of injury concerns her "body had become a distraction," and she wrote she is "ready to scale another mountain—to compete on a different type of terrain."

Per the New York Times' Christopher Clarey, Sharapova is retiring with immediate effect, so last month's first-round defeat to Donna Vekic at the Australian Open proved to be her final professional match:

Sharapova burst onto the global scene aged 17, when she beat top seed Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

She subsequently won the U.S. Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014. She also won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Meanwhile, Sharapova became one of the most marketable athletes in the world and was the highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years to 2015, per Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.

In 2016, though, she was banned from tennis for two years—later reduced to 15 months—after testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open.

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Sharapova missed six Grand Slam tournaments as a result, and her reputation took a major blow:

She returned for the 2017 U.S. Open, when she reached the fourth round, and she then made the last eight of the 2018 French Open.

Four first-round exits in her last six Grand Slam appearances and a tumble down the WTA rankings to No. 373 have been hard for Sharapova to ignore, though. 

She bows out having spent 21 weeks at the world No. 1 spot in her career and joined an elite group of 10 women to have won all four Grand Slam titles at least once. 

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