Articles, Blog

Why Maria Sharapova is Retiring From Tennis

February 27, 2020


5-time major champion Maria Sharapova has
announced that she will no longer be playing professional tennis. The Russian made the retirement announcement
in a Vanity Fair essay citing injuries as being the reason she’s hanging up her racquets. 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? I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis—I’m saying goodbye. Before we get to the end, though, let me start
at the beginning. The first time I remember seeing a tennis
court, my father was playing on it. I was four years old in Sochi, Russia—so
small that my tiny legs were dangling off the bench I was sitting on. So small that the racket I picked up next
to me was twice my size. When I was six, I traveled across the globe
to Florida with my father. The whole world seemed gigantic back then. The airplane, the airport, the wide expanse
of America: Everything was enormous—as was my parents’ sacrifice. When I first started playing, the girls on
the other side of the net were always older, taller, and stronger; the tennis greats I
watched on TV seemed untouchable and out of reach. But little by little, with every day of practice
on the court, this almost mythical world became more and more real. The first courts I ever played on were uneven
concrete with faded lines. Over time, they became muddy clay and the
most gorgeous, manicured grass your feet could ever step upon. But never in my wildest dreams did I think
I’d ever win on the sport’s biggest stages—and on every surface. Wimbledon seemed like a good place to start. I was a naive 17-year-old, still collecting
stamps, and didn’t understand the magnitude of my victory until I was older—and I’m
glad I didn’t. 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 U.S. Open showed me how to overcome distractions
and expectations. If you couldn’t handle the commotion of
New York—well, the airport was almost next-door. Dosvidanya. The Australian Open took me to a place that
had never been a part of me before—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. The clay at the French Open exposed virtually
all my weaknesses—for starters, my inability to slide on it—and forced me to overcome
them. Twice. That felt good. These courts revealed my true essence. Behind the photo shoots and the pretty tennis
dresses, they exposed my imperfections—every wrinkle, every drop of sweat. They tested my character, my will, my ability
to channel my raw emotions into a place where they worked for me instead of against me. Between their lines, my vulnerabilities felt
safe. How lucky am I to have found a kind of ground
on which I felt so exposed and yet so comfortable? One of the keys to my success was that I never
looked back and I never looked forward. I believed that if I kept grinding and grinding,
I could push myself to an incredible place. But there is no mastering tennis—you must
simply keep heeding the demands of the court while trying to quiet those incessant thoughts
in the back of your mind: Did you do enough—and more—to prepare
for your next opponent? You’ve taken a few days off—your body’s
losing that edge. That extra slice of pizza? Better make up for it with a great morning
session. Listening to this voice so intimately, anticipating
its every ebb and flow, is also how I accepted those final signals when they came. One of them came last August at the U.S. Open. Behind closed doors, thirty minutes before
taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match. Shoulder injuries are nothing new for me—over
time my tendons have frayed like a string. I’ve had multiple surgeries—once in 2008;
another procedure last year—and spent countless months in physical therapy. 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. 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. 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. I’ve never really felt compelled to speak
about work, or effort, or grit—every athlete understands the unspoken sacrifices they must
make to succeed. But as I embark on my next chapter, I want
anyone who dreams of excelling in anything to know that 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. In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me
a life. I’ll miss it everyday. 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. hat relentless chase for victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the
same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. In the meantime, there are a few simple things
I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways. Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!). 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 further explained her injury struggles
in a New York Times interview with Christopher Clarey saying, ““As I think you’ve seen
throughout my career, my perseverance has been my greatest tool, my greatest strength,. “But I’ve started feeling like it was
becoming a weakness, because the stubbornness that was keeping me going was keeping me going
for wrong reasons.” “Fourteen hours of my day in the last six
months have been just, like, caring for my body,” she said. “Before I get on the court every day I’m
tied to like an ultrasound machine or another machine or a recovery unit.” “It basically comes on with a lot of repetition,
and I have a bump on my forearm, and I can’t lift my hands, and it starts with one hand
then it goes to the other,” “It’s like shin splints in my forearms.” Unfortunately injuries are plaguing her and
are taking away that enjoyment. Now it’s time to begin a new chapter of comfort
and enjoyment. Maria currently has ventures outside of tennis
with her Sugarpova candy brand and formerly attending Harvard Business School. Im certain in the upcoming years she’ll
have even more business ventures available to her. People have been talking about Maria retiring
for a while now. I think the conversation started in mid-2019,
after a minor shoulder surgery sat her out for over 5 months. Since this surgery she only won 2 additional
matches, garnering 7 losses. She ended her 2019 season early with the same
shoulder injury still being prevalent. Her losses since the mid 2019 comeback weren’t
terrible losses by any stretch as she frequently lost to top-20 players. Still its really hard for her to challenge
those bigger tournaments and matches, which is a crucial reason why she decided to call
it quits. The constant injuries set her back more and
more, and made it increasingly difficult to maintain a high level of play. Maria isnt gonna settle for being a decent
top 50 player, regardless of her love for the game, so with these recurring problems
she felt enough was enough and I agree. I do have to mention the importance her drug
ban for Meldonium had on her steady decline. After the 2016 suspension, Maria came back
the following year ok, making the US Open second week and winning her final tour title
in Tianjin. In 2018 she had a promising clay court season
reaching the Rome semifinals and Roland garros quarterfinals. Here to the US Open there were no injuries
just poor play, but after her fourth round appearance in Flushing she ended that season
due to the right shoulder. People have said that without her Meldonium
she cant stay injury free, and I do have to admit, that it is really crazy that she’s
had all of these problems in the past 3 years. The shoulder has always been an issue for
Maria though, for she’s had three major shoulder injuries pre-drug ban. Regardless of how we may feel about her controversial
history, her persistence and fighting spirit are admirable and are some of the main things
we’ll remember about her. Regarding her way of retiring from the sport
I do feel like it is kind of anticlimactic. Being such a huge star, I’d expect her to
embark on a farewell tour and have an emotional final match like Caroline Wozniacki. Instead she ends her career as the 369th ranked
player, her last match being an opening round Australian Open loss to Donna Vekic. She may decide to come back in the future,
but judging from her personality and the way she conducts herself I find this highly unlikely. In the times interview she said that she knew
as a child she never wanted to have a farewell tour. She also expressed that Meldonium was not
a contributor to her injuries and subsequent retirement, rather it was a long ongoing chain
of events stemming from her early twenties. I was never a Sharapova fan, but she was a
defining figure of my time as a tennis fan and it’s crazy that she’s no longer playing. Thank you for those memories Maria, and I
wish you a great retirement.

9 Comments

  • Reply GS Tennis News Today February 26, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Are you surprised about Maria’s announcement? Also, how will you remember the 32 year old?

  • Reply elvira patiño February 26, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    😢😢😢😢😢

  • Reply Carol Morris February 26, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    Cheers Maria.💁‍♀️Now I won't have to put the television on mute every time you screech.

  • Reply forgetmenot February 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

    Cue the f***ing violins! Nobody cares about her exaggerated injuries. Everyone knows the real reason she's retiring is because she can't play at the level she used to before she was DOPING. The end. 😉

  • Reply forgetmenot February 27, 2020 at 12:18 am

    Maria…girl…you're looking a little rough there @ 4:12 and 4:42.

  • Reply robinrutschman February 27, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Without the use of illegal performance enhancement drugs Maria Screamadopa was a ghost of her former self. She should have retired when she was banned from Tennis…

  • Reply Darius Brock February 27, 2020 at 4:48 am

    Not a fan of hers but wish her the best in her new life.

  • Reply Levani Abramidze February 27, 2020 at 5:58 am

    Мариа лохопедовна про 300000$ разабралась и про 20000$?номера когда покупаитье за 1000000$?лапуси эсэсэровна в Батуми приезжай и расплотьис самной.про хогестада хочу спросить,сколько я имею денег?как у хогестада в каждый месяц?3-4 тысяч баксов да?адинь 3-4 года назад базар блядь.такую не правду сказать опасно очень,передай Томасу.вас надували и надували террористы.все весело у вас происходьило приписание денегь.штоб не погореть.про выку обыжены на тебя уже мариа юриевна.суда суда блядь камне в Батуми.я твоих петухов в звукозаписи ибал у бесико гландонутого.бс зарбо

  • Reply harry gordon February 27, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Looking below ,still the insults keep coming , from people that have NEVER met her or spoken to her.  Masha there are MILLIONS of fans that have respect for your determination from a little girl aged 6 that came to the USA ,without your mother , not speaking the language and turned yourself into a true champion through damn hard worked and dedicated your life to be one of the best that's ever been .Her injuries which have dogged her since she was 21 and yet managed to be the 5th best female tennis player of ALL time . Thank you MASHA , good luck for the future , simply the best

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