Maria Sharapova has decided to retire from tennis at the age of 32.
In an article written for Vogue and Vanity Fair, the five-time Grand Slam champion said her body “had become a distraction” after a struggle with shoulder injuries.
Maria Sharapova won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17 and completed the career slam – all four major titles – by winning the French Open in 2012.
In 2016, the Russian served a 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium.
After returning from her ban in 2017, Maria Sharapova struggled to recapture her best form and suffered from a number of injuries.
The former champion has dropped to 373 in the world, her lowest ranking since August 2002, and has lost in the first round of her past three Grand Slam tournaments.
In announcing her retirement, Maria Sharapova said: “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye.
“Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain. 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.
“That relentless chase for victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
“In the meantime, there are a few simple things I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways. Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!)”
Maria Sharapova said her 6-1, 6-1 first-round defeat by Serena Williams at 2019 US Open was the “final signal”.
She did not play again in 2019 after that defeat at Flushing Meadows and has played just twice in 2020, including a straight sets loss to Croat Donna Vekic in the Australian Open first round, her last competitive appearance..
Maria Sharapova shot to stardom in 2004 aged just 17 when victory over Serena Williams saw her become the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon singles title.
She would go on to become one of the most high-profile names in women’s sport, winning 36 singles titles and earning more than $38 million in prize money.
In 2005, Maria Sharapova became the first Russian woman to become world No 1, and won her second Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2006.