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Sports Maria Sharapova Wants to Be Clear: She Is Retiring From Tennis, Not Quitting

19:15  26 february  2020
19:15  26 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Maria Sharapova , the tennis star who became one of the richest and most famous athletes of the 21st century, is retiring at age 32, worn down by injuries that hindered But she claimed to be unaware that the drug had recently been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances.

Maria Sharapova has announced that she is retiring from tennis with immediate effect. After a succession of shoulder injuries, which saw her undergo multiple surgeries, the latest of which was in 2019, she has announced her intention to quit the sport in a heartfelt essay for Vogue and Vanity Fair

a woman in a black shirt: Maria Sharapova said the death of Kobe Bryant, a longtime friend, was one of the things that helped convince her that it was time to end her tennis career. © Celeste Sloman for The New York Times Maria Sharapova said the death of Kobe Bryant, a longtime friend, was one of the things that helped convince her that it was time to end her tennis career.

To understand why Maria Sharapova is retiring from professional tennis at age 32, it helps to know what she can no longer endure.

“I look at photos of myself and of the motion where I’m just about to hit the ball, and I’m in the air or just as I’m making contact,” she said on Tuesday, “and I can’t even look at it because it makes me cringe. I have so much pain.”

The pain has been a near-constant companion over the last two years for Sharapova, a former No. 1 player who became one of the richest and most globally recognizable athletes of the 21st century but who found herself unable to return to the top of the game after a suspension for using a banned substance in 2016.

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Five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis in a column she wrote for Vogue and Vanity Fair.

Russian tennis icon Maria Sharapova has announced she is hanging up her racket at the age of 32, calling “ Tennis - I’m saying goodbye.” As the tennis world reflects on the departure of one its all-time greats Despite retiring from tennis , it’s unlikely Sharapova will be disappearing from the spotlight

a woman hitting a ball with a racket: Sharapova during her last match, a first-round loss to Donna Vekic at the Australian Open last month. © Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times Sharapova during her last match, a first-round loss to Donna Vekic at the Australian Open last month.

Since then, she has dealt with recurring tendon damage in her right shoulder and inflammation in her forearms that at times has made it excruciatingly difficult for her to even grip a racket, much less rip a forehand.

a person standing in front of a crowd: A 17-year-old Sharapova became the Wimbledon champion in 2004. © Getty Images A 17-year-old Sharapova became the Wimbledon champion in 2004.

But she did not falter for lack of persistence. Quite the contrary, in her view.

“As I think you’ve seen throughout my career, my perseverance has been my greatest tool, my greatest strength,” she said in an interview. “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.”

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(AP) -- Maria Sharapova quietly walked away from tennis at the age of 32 on Wednesday, ending a career that featured five Grand Slam titles, time at She was asked after that defeat whether it might have been her last appearance at Melbourne Park, and she repeatedly replied with "I don't know."

(CNN) Maria Sharapova retired for the first time in her grand slam career at Wimbledon but suggested she isn't about to quit the game for good after Sharapova 's outside interests include candy company Sugarpova and she was long the richest female athlete in the world but has always spoken of her

a group of people standing around a table with a racket: Sharapova at the U.S. Open last summer. She was ousted by Serena Williams in the first round, 6-1, 6-1. © Krista Schlueter for The New York Times Sharapova at the U.S. Open last summer. She was ousted by Serena Williams in the first round, 6-1, 6-1.

She was suspended in 2016 for using meldonium, a newly banned drug developed for heart patients that Sharapova said she had been taking for years because of a magnesium deficiency, dizziness and a family history of diabetes. She claimed to be unaware that meldonium had recently been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances. Her suspension was ultimately cut from two years to 15 months on appeal, with an arbitration panel saying that Sharapova should not be considered “an intentional doper.”

a woman wearing a black shirt: Sharapova said that she recently went skiing for the first time and that she planned to study architecture later this year. © Celeste Sloman for The New York Times Sharapova said that she recently went skiing for the first time and that she planned to study architecture later this year.

She recently ruled out having another shoulder operation, but pushing through the pain just led to more pain. Her comeback lasted two seasons and finished with a first-round defeat to 19th-seeded Donna Vekic at the Australian Open on Jan. 20. At the end, Sharapova said she just felt an overwhelming “heaviness.”

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Maria Sharapova announced on Wednesday that she was retiring from tennis . The 32-year-old won five Gram Slam titles during her career, but has Sharapova made her tennis debut with a victory at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17. However, her last years were frought with losses, a doping

Maria Sharapova is retiring from professional tennis at the age of 32 after five Grand Slam titles and time ranked No. 1. She has been dealing with shoulder problems for years. Sharapova played only two matches this season and lost both. In an essay written for Vanity Fair and Vogue about her decision

“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.”

There will be no farewell tour.

“I don’t feel I need to go on the court for the entire world and every fan to know that this is my last time on the court,” Sharapova said. “Even when I was younger, it was not the way I wanted it to end.”

Sharapova said she knew it was time to retire as she flew home to Los Angeles from Australia. Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 made it even clearer.

“We were supposed to see each other like three days after the crash,” said Sharapova, who explained that Bryant had been an “incredible sounding board” throughout her career.

This time, she said, she had reached out for help in coping with her physical deterioration.

“I think we all seem at times in our journey like larger than life because of what we do, but everyone at the core is incredibly fragile,” she said of Bryant. “And if anything it just opens up your eyes to what really matters in life, so that was a moment where I had a really good think about my future as well.”

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A 6-foot-2 Russian who punctuated her flat groundstrokes with piercing shrieks, Sharapova made one of the most extraordinary journeys in sports. If not for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, she would surely not be a tennis star. Her parents, Yuri and Yelena, were living in Gomel in present-day Belarus in April 1986 when the reactor exploded in nearby Chernobyl. They eventually fled to Nyagan in distant Siberia to live near family. Sharapova was born there in April 1987, but Yuri soon moved the family to sunnier Sochi on the Black Sea, where he discovered tennis and passed it on to his only child.

In 1993, when Maria was 6 and post-Soviet Russia was in turmoil, she and her father moved to Florida with less than $1,000 in Yuri’s pocket. Martina Navratilova had noticed Maria’s potential at a Moscow clinic and recommended that she train abroad.

It was, in retrospect or not, a wild gamble. Sharapova, who was separated from her mother for more than two years because of American visa restrictions, showed remarkable steel, drive and talent as she worked her way to the top at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

“The one thing I remember the most when I first saw her was the focus in practice, like every ball was like the finals of Wimbledon,” said Max Eisenbud, who became her agent.

Maria Sharapova announces retirement from tennis

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Sharapova became a global star in 2004 by winning Wimbledon at age 17, upsetting top-seeded Serena Williams in a hard-hitting final. Sharapova won five Grand Slam singles titles in all, including the United States Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014, despite clay being her least-favored surface.

“I feel like a cow on ice,” she said of playing on clay in 2007, demonstrating a wit that was often impossible to detect on tour as she slammed no-nonsense winners and avoided forming bonds with her peers to maintain a competitive edge.

She won 36 tour singles titles in total, an Olympic silver medal in singles in 2012 and the Fed Cup title with Russia in 2008. She was ranked No. 1 for the first time in August 2005 and spent 21 weeks in the top spot.

But she arguably made a more indelible mark off court. She was the world’s highest-earning female athlete for 11 consecutive years, according to Forbes. She earned the majority of her income in endorsements from companies like Nike and Evian, started her own candy company and reportedly earned close to $30 million in 2015.

“She really helped the sport a lot because she brought a lot of attention to it,” Billie Jean King, one of the WTA Tour’s founders, said on Tuesday. “Not only was she a great player, she did very well off the court.”

After her suspension, she returned in April 2017 with a point to prove. She met resistance, though, as some tournament officials chose not to offer her invitations to play and some players expressed discontent when she was granted wild cards, arguing that it was unfair for anyone returning from a ban to receive such a boost.

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But Sharapova could not rise again — despite occasional flashes of form, including a stirring first-round victory over second-seeded Simona Halep at the 2017 U.S. Open and a tour title in China at a lower-level event in October 2017.

The fact that she was less successful after her suspension could lead to the conclusion that she was less successful without meldonium. She rejects that idea, arguing that she was already battling injuries before the ban.

Did forgoing meldonium have any impact on her results?

“Zero,” she said grimly. “My shoulder has been an issue since I was 21.”

Sharapova had her first shoulder operation in 2008 to repair a torn rotator cuff and another, minor procedure in February 2019 to repair a damaged tendon and a small labrum tear. But the shoulder kept fraying, and Sharapova has also struggled with intersection syndrome in both forearms.

“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,” she said. “It’s like shin splints in my forearms.”

Sharapova, now down to No. 373 in the world rankings, played the way she practiced: at full volume and intensity, throwing herself into the challenge with evident relish despite some technical and physical shortcomings.

Her forehand was considered enough of a liability in her youth that she considered hitting it with her left hand instead of her right. She seldom liked playing at the net, and her foot speed could not compare to that of rivals like the Williams sisters and Halep.

But she had a fluid, world-class two-handed backhand and a deep understanding of how to construct a baseline point. She also had one of the most fearsome serves in the game before her shoulder problems.

Above all, she had a point-to-point intensity similar to the men’s star Rafael Nadal.

“The girl has no fear,” Robert Lansdorp, one of her childhood coaches, said when Sharapova made her tour debut at age 14 in Indian Wells, Calif., in 2002.

Many would echo Lansdorp’s statement through the years, but there were obstacles Sharapova still could not overcome, including Serena Williams, who after the defeat at Wimbledon and another in the 2004 tour championships, never lost to her again, finishing their rivalry with a 20-2 head-to-head record and still playing on at age 38.

This era has belonged to Williams, no doubt, but Sharapova made herself heard loud and clear just the same. It is time now for new challenges and pleasures — for more time with her boyfriend, the British businessman Alexander Gilkes, and for her plans to study architecture later this year as well as focusing on growing her candy businesses.

Sharapova skied last week for the first time, hitting the slopes in Montana, and then sent a video to her former practice partner, the rising Italian star Jannik Sinner, who was once a promising Alpine skier.

“He wrote to me, and he said, ‘I think you should keep playing tennis,’” Sharapova said with a loud laugh.

For now and very likely for good, Sharapova remains unpersuaded.

“Look, would I have loved to have a sixth, a seventh, an eighth Grand Slam trophy?” she said. “That number sounds better, but I could have had zero when I started, and I got myself to a pretty incredible place.”

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