By Staff Writer, écoute moi
Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova has revealed she is quitting tennis. Injuries, as well as a ban for using banned substance meldonium, had kept her from the game for an extended period in the latter part of her career.
Both Ekaterina Alexandrova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are both now ranked within the top 30 players in the world while, on the male side of things, Daniil Medvedev is the country’s undisputed top star while Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov are both firmly entrenched in the world’s top 20 players.
“I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction”, she wrote of her shoulder issues, which required multiple surgeries, including one in 2019. Maria burst onto the scene when she was 17, in 2004, by winning Wimbledon, which she called “a good place to start” in her essay.
Sharapova who battled numerous shoulder injuries throughout her career – said Thursday of all the ups and downs in her career, “I realize that tennis has been my mountain”. She added an Australian Open title in 2008, and then won the French Open in 2012 and 2014. She would beat Williams again at that year’s season-ending tour championship to improve to 2-1 against the American – and never won another one of their matchups, dropping the next 19 in a row.
Men’s world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was only five when Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004, said numerous Russian’s rivals can only be envious of her success.
After initially getting a two-year suspension, Sharapova appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which reduced the penalty, ruling she bore “less than significant fault” in the case and could not “be considered to be an intentional doper”.
The Russian-born Sharapova turned professional in 2001 at the age of 14.
Sharapova may be going quietly into retirement, but it certainly will not be the last we hear of her.
When Sharapova returned in 2017 her world ranking had disappeared, leaving her at the mercy of wildcards into tournaments.
The biggest deal came, as it does for many athletes, from Nike, with whom she had a deal worth a reported US$70 million (A$106 million) over eight years. Just stepping onto the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. In the evidence she presented at her tribunal, Sharapova said the drug was prescribed in 2005 by a doctor in Moscow to treat a mineral metabolism disorder, which had left her prone to colds and tonsil infections.
After the match, Djokovic was asked to comment on Sharapova and the Serbian took time to pay tribute to the five-time Grand Slam champion. “Tennis showed me the world-and it showed me what I was made of”, Sharapova said, in an Instagram post. “It’s how I tested myself and how I measured my growth”, Sharapova wrote. I’ll still be climbing.