Five-time Grand Slam Maria Sharapova has called it quits from tennis.
Sharapova, who last played at the Australian Open last month and lost in the first round to Donna Vekic, has been suffering from injuries related to shoulder and played in just 20 matches since the start of 2019.
The former world number one from Russia, had fallen to 373rd on the WTA rankings, and apart from a win against Ajla Tomljanovic in an exhibition match earlier this year, she lost all her remaining four matches this year. These included a first round exit in Brisbane to Jennifer Brady, another couple of defeats at the Kooyong Classic and that loss to Vekic.
Writing for VanityFair.com, Sharapova bid an emotional goodbye to the game at 32. She 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.”
Sharapova’s last tour level win came against Alison Riske in Cincinnati last year in the first round before she ended the year on the back of a couple of defeats again.
The Russian returned to competitive tennis after being suspended for consuming banned substance meldonium in 2016.
She had been taken the drug to help overcome a magnesium deficiency and dizziness and to avoid a family history of diabetes but faced a 15-month suspension after World Anti-Doping Agency added that to a list banned substances.
Sharapova returned from the suspension to make it to the semifinal at Stuttgart on return and then had a couple of decent runs in 2018 and 2019 as well. There were semifinals at Shenzhen and Rome Open in 2018, followed by a quarterfinal in Shenzhen the following year, and fourth round appearance at the 2019 Australian Open.