Maria Sharapova Says “Goodbye” to Tennis in Open Letter

Maria Sharapova

Five-time grand slam champion, Maria Sharapovahas announced that she is retiring from the sport in which made her famous — effective immediately

One of the highest-paid sportswomen in the world, the Russian-born tennis player beat Serena Williams to victory when she won Wimbledon at the age of 17 in 2004.

In an open letter, published on Vanity Fair, titled: “Tennis — I’m Saying Goodbye”, the 32-year-old announced that she would be “stepping away” from the game.

“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?” she wrote.

“I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis—I’m saying goodbye.”

Sharapova went on to explain how she came to love the sport, before saying how she “didn’t understand the magnitude” of her victory at Wimbledon.

“…And I’m glad I didn’t,” she said.

“My edge, though, was never about feeling superior to other players. It was about feeling like I was on the verge of falling off a cliff—which is why I constantly returned to the court to figure out how to keep climbing.”

The US Open showed her how to “overcome distractions and expectations”, while the Australian Open, took her to a place “that had never been a part of me before”.

But it was the French Open that “exposed virtually all of her weaknesses”.

“…to an extreme confidence that some people call being ‘in the zone.’ I really can’t explain it—but it was a good place to be.”

Through the article, Sharapova detailed the “incessant thoughts” that plagued her.

Was she “good enough”? Was her body “losing that edge”? And the thoughts about how she would work off a slice of pizza.

Sharapova’s “final signals” to retire came at the US Open in 2019, when she had to numb her shoulder due to an injury from 2008 to get through the match — but the pain was always “worth it”.

“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.”

The former world number one then directed her attention to “anyone who dreams of excelling in anything”.

“…Doubt and judgment are inevitable: You will fail hundreds of times, and the world will watch you. Accept it. Trust yourself. I promise that you will prevail.”

While the “relentless chase for victories” will never “diminish”, she will always apply the same focus, work ethic and lessons that she “has learned along the way”.

So, what is next for the world-famous tennis star?

Family, weekend getaways, workouts of her choice (“hello, dance class!”) and morning coffee.

“Tennis showed me the world—and it showed me what I was made of.“

For the full article, click here.