Sports | February 26, 2020 12:35 pm

Tennis Great Maria Sharapova Announces Retirement After 19-Year Pro Career

The five-time Grand Slam champ announced her retirement in an essay that appeared Wednesday

Tennis Great Maria Sharapova Announces Retirement
Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot during day one of the 2019 US Open. (Matthew Stockman/Getty)
Getty Images

A pro at the age of 14 in 2001 and a Wimbledon winner three years later, Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis after a 19-year professional career.

The five-time Grand Slam champion announced her retirement in an essay that appeared Wednesday in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

“Throughout my career, Is it worth it? was never even a question — in the end, it always was,” she wrote. “My mental fortitude has always been my strongest weapon. Even if my opponent was physically stronger, more confident — even just plain better — I could, and did, persevere.”

Sharapova, who won the U.S. Open in 2006, Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014 in addition to winning Wimbledon in 2004, has dropped to No. 373 in WTA rankings after making it to No. 1 in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012.

The 32-year-old Russian player received a two-year suspension from the International Tennis Federation in 2016 for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.

In her final match was last month at the Australian Open, Sharapova was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Donna Vekic.

“I put in all the right work. There is no guarantee that even when you do all of those things, that you’re guaranteed victory in a first round or in the third round or in the final. That’s the name of this game,” Sharapova said after the loss. “That’s why it’s so special to be a champion, even for one time.”

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.