Maria Sharapova is bidding adieu to her professional tennis career at the age of 32 after five Grand Slam titles and time ranked No. 1. She has been dealing with shoulder problems for years. Sharapova played only two matches this season and lost both. Sharapova asks: “How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known?”
She exploded onto the tennis scene at 17 when she won Wimbledon in 2004 and would go on to complete a career Grand Slam with two titles at the French Open and one each at the U.S. Open and Australian Open.
The Russian, who relocated to Florida as a child, served a 15-month ban after failing a doping test in 2016.
Since that suspension, Sharapova endured reaching only one major quarterfinal.
After so much triumph on the tennis court and off, so much time in the spotlight, Sharapova walks away having failed four progressive matches at Grand Slam tournaments.
The latest came last month at the Australian Open, where she was defeated 6-3, 6-4 by Donna Vekic. That sent her ranking tripping outside of the top 350 – she is 373rd this week – and Sharapova has not performed anywhere since.
She was asked after that collapse whether it might have been her last appearance at Melbourne Park, where she attained the trophy in 2008, and she repeatedly replied with “I don’t know.”
But her right shoulder has been a problem off-and-on for more than a decade.
She played a total of 15 matches last season, going 8-7.
“I put in all the right work. There is no guarantee that even when you do all of those things, that you’re guaranteed victory in a first-round or the third round or the final. That’s the name of this game,” Sharapova said after what turned out to be her final match. “That’s why it’s so special to be a champion, even for one time.”