In 2001 a 14-year-old Maria Sharapova quickly became one of the tennis world’s biggest stars. This past February, just before her 33rd birthday, the 6-foot-2 Russia-born star whose accomplishments include reaching No.1 in the world rankings, winning five Grand Slam tournaments, and accumulating a stunningly impressive net worth, announced her retirement.
Shoulder issues plagued Sharapova, and ended her 2013 season. In 2014, she won her fifth and final Grand Slam, defeating Simona Halep at the French Open to win the tournament for the second time in three years.
Maria Sharapova’s career was hit with scandal in 2016. She failed a drug test at the Australian Open, testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.
She said that she had been taking the drug for a decade for health reasons, and was unaware that it was banned by the International Tennis Federation. She was initially banned from the sport for two years, but it was reduced to 15 months later that year.
In 2018, after returning from the suspension, her career revived for a while, but shoulder and forearm injuries continued to take their toll. At the start of 2020, Sharapova lost in straight sets to Donna Vekić in the first round of the Australian Open. Weeks later, she announced her retirement in an emotional essay published in Vanity Fair.
In the essay, she wrote, “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye”.
Sharapova is engaged to Alexander Gilkes, 41. He went to Eton with Prince William and was previously married to Meghan Markle’s close friend Misha Nonoo.