Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32.
Sharapova, a former world No 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion, wrote in an article for Vogue and Vanity Fair: "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.
"In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life. I’ll miss it every day. 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.
"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!).
"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. 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."
Sharapova is one of only ten women to have achieved a career Grand Slam.
In March 2016, she announced that she failed a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open and was subsequently banned from the sport for 15 months.