(NEW YORK) — After 28 years on the court, Maria Sharapova is retiring.
“Tennis — I’m saying goodbye,” the 32-year-old Russian born player announced Wednesday in an essay for Vanity Fair.
Sharapova is leaving the game with five Grand Slams under her belt. She won Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014.
Her professional career began in 2001 when she was just 14 years old.
“In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life. I’ll miss it everyday,” Sharapova says in the essay. “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,” she adds.
Sharapova says she is now looking forward to a “few simple things,” like spending time with her family, enjoying a cup of coffee and choosing her workouts.
“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,” she concludes her essay.
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