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Maria Sharapova has retired from professional tennis

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

13:22 26 Feb 2020

The five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova has retired from tennis at the age of 32.

The former world number one has struggled with shoulder problems, and recently fell to 373rd in the rankings.

The Russian won five grand slam titles during her career, including Wimbledon in 2004.

She was banned for 15-months after failing a drugs test at the Australian Open in 2016.

Sharapova was comprehensively defeated in the first round of this year's Australian Open, losing in straight sets - 3-6, 4-6 - to 19th seed Donna Vekić. After the match, Sharapova questioned her future amid persistent injuries, saying: “It’s tough to know where I’ll be in 12 months’ time.”

She announced her decision in an exclusive essay on Vanity Fair saying "Tennis—I’m saying goodbye.

"In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life. I’ll miss it everyday. I’ll miss the training and my daily routine: Waking up at dawn, lacing my left shoe before my right, and closing the court’s gate before I hit my first ball of the day. I’ll miss my team, my coaches. I’ll miss the moments sitting with my father on the practice court bench. The handshakes—win or lose—and the athletes, whether they knew it or not, who pushed me to be my best.

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."

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