The 32-year-old, who has won five Grand Slam titles throughout her career, said she is moving on from the game that she once dominated.
“In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” Sharapova wrote. In the essay, she asks: “How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known?
Born in Russia, Sharapova grew up in Florida playing tennis.
She burst onto the international scene at 17 years old when she beat Serena Williams in an upset at the 2004 Wimbledon final. One year later, Sharapova reached No. 1. In total, she spent 21 weeks as the World Tennis Association’s world No.1.
In 2006, she won her second major trophy at Flushing Meadows, then added an Australian Open title to her accolades in 2008, and went on to win the French Open in 2012 and 2014.
“One of the keys to my success was that I never looked back and I never looked forward,” Sharapova wrote in Vanity Fair. I believed that if I kept grinding and grinding, I could push myself to an incredible place. But there is no mastering tennis — you must simply keep heeding the demands of the court while trying to quiet those incessant thoughts in the back of your mind.”
Sharapova’s career was derailed after a doping ban in 2016 that barred her from playing for 15 months. She has also long dealt with problems in her right shoulder, forcing her to undergo multiple surgeries, the most recent in 2019. Today she is ranked 373 in the World Tennis Association singles rankings.
“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,” she wrote. “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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