Maria Sharapova Russian 5 time grand slam champion, Olympic Silver medallist and former world number one today announced her retirement. Sadly for Sharapova this is not the way she would have liked to have bowed out but unfortunately her body gave up on her. In 2019 Maria went from one injury to another and only won 3 games on tour all year. She suffered a sobering 6-1 6-1 defeat against Serena in the first round of the US Open.
Perhaps the writing has been on the wall for some time. Sharapova has had mediocre form for the most part of the last 18 months. Many fans hoped that Sharapova would get her head down and begin to win some games should that be lower down the tour just to get match practice. As unlikely as that was it wasn’t out of the question. A few victories at lower tour events would do wonders for confidence. As a fan I am disappointed but I am in no doubt that Maria tried absolutely everything to get back to the level she is capable of.
What will Maria be remembered for?
Hard working with huge desire and with the heart of a lion. Maria knew only one way and that was flat out from the very start. At her best she was unplayable winning slams on hard court, grass court and clay courts. I remember her maiden title at the age of 17 at Wimbledon. She was a huge underdog. The victory catapaulted her to superstardom and Maria became an instant overnight name.
In her early career Maria could not play on clay but with hard work and dedication she finally began to enjoy success on the dirt. Despite Maria’s relatively modest athleticism she worked at her movement and became a colossus on the clay. She won WTA premier events and also won the French Open. Her career is punctuated with epic victories and disappointing defeats. More Usually succumbing to serving jitters. This was of course as a result of surgery on her rotator cuff. Her will to win was unmatched and at times she won games based solely on her will to win. Maria’s desire was unparalleled.
Maria Sharapova became a huge global star over the years and enjoy bumper contracts with a Nike, Head, Evian and others. She will be a loss to these brands and her presence on the tennis tour will be missed. Despite her relative lack of success in the past number of years, Maria was still a huge draw and could fill stadia around the world. I saw Maria several times and was impressed by her style and grace on court. She is taller in real life and really hits a ball cleanly. I still followed her right until this day and I am sad she is retiring but understand the reasons. It is time to pursue a different path. Hopefully she will be involved in the game in some capacity. There are many thoughts going through my head at the moment. I have so much I could write about concerning Maria Sharapova. Her fashion, Sugarpova, the meldonium saga. Watch this space.