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Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in her third round match against Lauren Davis of the United States during day five of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 22, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.

Maria Sharapova Announces Retirement From Tennis At 32

Maria Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32 after she issued a surprising essay in Vanity Fair and Vogue on Wednesday. She began her pro career in 2002 at the age of 14.

In one passage, Sharapova wrote, “How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known? 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.”

Her illustrious pro-career spanned 19 years and featured highlight moments which included winning five Grand Slam titles, a Wimbledon championship in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and two French Open titles in 2012 and 2014 respectively. She compiled a singles’ record of 645-171 and was named the Women’s Tennis Association No.1 ranked player in the 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012 seasons.

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Later in the essay, Sharapova wrote, “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.

In 2016, she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium initially receiving a two-year ban from the International Tennis Federation before it was reduced to nine months following Sharpova’s appeal. She was constantly bothered by shoulder injuries near the end of her career and was ranked No. 369 in the most recent WTA poll.

Sharapova’s last paragraph stated, “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.”

 

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Written by Frank DeLorenzo

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