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Maria Sharapova: Five-time grand slam winner retires from tennis | SportNews

Maria Sharapova: Five-time grand slam winner retires from tennis


(CNN)Five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis in a column she has written for Vogue and Vanity Fair.

The Russian retires at the age of 32 having last won a grand slam in 2014 when she clinched the French Open for the second time. Her last appearance came at the 2020 Australian Open, where she was knocked out in the first round by Donna Vekić.

    In her article, Sharapova said she was “saying goodbye” to tennis.”In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” Sharapova wrote. Read More”I’ll miss it everyday. I’ll miss the training and my daily routine: Waking up at dawn, lacing my left shoe before my right, and closing the court’s gate before I hit my first ball of the day. I’ll miss my team, my coaches. I’ll miss the moments sitting with my father on the practice court bench. The handshakes—win or lose—and the athletes, whether they knew it or not, who pushed me to be my best.”READ: Kim Clijsters to make long-heralded comeback at WTA tournament in Dubai

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementFive-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis on February 26, 2020 at the age of 32.Hide Caption 1 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementThe Russian shot to fame when she defeated Serena Williams 6-1 6-4 in the Wimbledon final in 2004.Hide Caption 2 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementShe was just 17 years old when she became Wimbledon’s third youngest female champion. Hide Caption 3 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementThere was more success to come. Having risen to the top of the world rankings, Sharapova secured her second grand slam title with victory over Justine Henin at the US Open in 2006. Hide Caption 4 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementHer third major triumph came at the 2008 Australian Open when she defeated Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic in the final having not dropped a set all tournament.Hide Caption 5 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementDespite her success, Sharapova also struggled with injuries in the early part of her career, suffering a series of shoulder issues that eventually required surgery in 2008. Here, she receives treatment while facing Petra Kvitova at the Torya Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in 2011. Hide Caption 6 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementHaving twice fallen in the semifinals and three times in the quarterfinals of the French Open, Sharapova eventually completed the grand slam of all four major titles when she defeated Italy’s Sara Errani at Roland Garros in 2012.Hide Caption 7 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementIt wasn’t long before the Russian wrapped up her second title in Paris, defeating Simona Halep in the 2014 final. But that was to be the last grand slam victory of Sharapova’s career. Hide Caption 8 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementIn 2016 she tested positive for banned substance meldonium. Her initial two-year ban was cut to 15 months following an appeal.Hide Caption 9 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementShe made her return in April 2017 at the Stuttgart Open where she won her first match since serving the ban against Roberta Vinci of Italy.Hide Caption 10 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementSharapova made her grand slam comeback at the 2017 US Open, reaching the fourth round. She was unable to reach the same heights as the start of her career at majors, her best result a quarterfinal showing at the French Open in 2018.Hide Caption 11 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementShe has built a successful business empire away from the court, pictured here at an event for her sweet company Sugarpova in London last year. Her endorsements have included Nike, Gatorade, Canon and Cole Haan.Hide Caption 12 of 13

    Photos: Sharap-over — tennis star announces retirementShe played the final game of her career at the 2020 Australian Open. After a year beset with injury struggles, Sharapova lost to Croatia’s Donna Vekic in the first round in Melbourne.Hide Caption 13 of 13

    Rivalry and setback

    Sharapova moved to Florida, US, aged just seven in 1994 to receive professional training.She burst onto the tennis scene as a 17-year-old in 2004 when she beat No.1 seed Serena Williams in the final of Wimbledon to claim her first grand slam.She rose to the summit of the world rankings for the first time in 2005 and alongside her Wimbledon title, has won two French Open titles, one Australian Open, and a US Open title. Sharapova also lost to long-time rival Williams in three other grand slam finals. In 2016, she tested positive for banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open. She was initially banned for two years, before the ban was reduced to 15 months after an appeal. Returning to action in April the following year, she has since been unable to hit the heights from the start of her career.READ: Roger Federer pulls out of French Open after knee surgery

    Maria Sharapova blows a kiss to the crowd at Roland Garros in 2018.

    ‘My body has become a distraction’

    Sharapova has also has collected more than $38 million in prize money in her career, according to the WTA website. View this post on Instagram

    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. Tennis—I’m saying goodbye.

    A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:19am PST

    “Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain,” she said. “My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible. “After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain—to compete on a different type of terrain.”She spent five different stints at the top of the world rankings, as well as receiving a number of high-paid endorsements from brands such as Nike. After returning to the top in 2012, Sharapova made her Olympic debut in London where she finished with the silver medal, losing in the final to Williams. Off the court, Sharapova was busy building a business empire, creating a candy production company — Sugarpova — as well as being co-owner of Supergoop, a sunscreen company. Injuries eventually took their toll on the Russian, though. She suffered a number of shoulder injuries, and before last year’s US Open, she recognized the end of her career might be near. “Behind closed doors, thirty minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” Sharapova, now ranked 373 in the world, wrote in her farewell article. “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.Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

    ‘Big champion’

    Sharapova serves against Vekic at the Australian Open.”Throughout my career, Is it worth it? was never even a question — in the end, it always was. My mental fortitude has always been my strongest weapon. Even if my opponent was physically stronger, more confident — even just plain better — I could, and did, persevere.”Rival Petra Kvitova — who beat Sharapova in the 2011 Wimbledon final — hailed the Russian as a “big champion.”

      “I know how tough it is to come back and play,” she said on Twitter. “She has been injured a lot. Of course she wanted probably bigger success than she really paid or her body allowed her to have.”It was pleasure to be with her on the tour, sharing the court with her. It was always great battles when we play together. So it’s been always nice to share the court with her and I do always have respect to her.”

      Source: edition.cnn.com

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