Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32 after winning five Grand Slam titles during her career.
She has announced she will be quitting her beloved sport in an emotional essay in Vanity Fair on Wednesday, in which she claimed her ‘body has become a distraction’ due to mounting injury problems at the end of her career.
The 32-year-old Russian said: ‘I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis —I’m saying goodbye.’
During her career, Sharapova won Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open once, while clinching the French Open twice.
Her retirement comes just three years after returning from her drugs ban following a failed test from the 2016 Australian Open, in which she tested positive for meldonium.
On Wednesday, Sharapova said: ‘I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction.
‘Throughout my career, Is it worth it? was never even a question — in the end, it always was.’
The Russian made her return following the drugs ban on April 26, 2017, beating Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart Open.
Vinci was critical that the tournament had handed Sharapova a controversial wildcard to return to tennis before being beaten in straight sets.
Sharapova became the world No. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, at the age of 18, becoming the first Russian female tennis player to top the singles rankings, and last held the ranking for a fifth time for four weeks from June 11, 2012, to July 8, 2012.
Combining both tennis and beauty, Sharapova has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
She has appeared in many advertisements, including those for Nike, Prince, and Canon, and has been the face of several fashion houses, most notably Cole Haan since February 2007.