Yutaka Nakamura, the Japanese trainer who worked with former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova for seven years, says the Russian gave her all to her career. 32 year old Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis last month after winning five Grand Slams in her career.
Speaking to Mainichi, Nakamura says, "I think she gave it everything. The athlete who won (the Australian Open) was 21 years old, and players aged 10 to 19 are performing well, too. With the competition getting harder, maybe she thought now was a good time to bow out.
She also has an interest in business, and I think after retiring from tennis she will reflect on what she's learned from the sport and become someone who is an influence to those around her." Nakamura says Sharapova always had a desire to improve even when she was at the top.
"Even when she'd just won, she'd be talking about what training we were going to do the next day. She was always thinking about where she could improve. She liked to try new things, even during training."
Nakamura is now working as Head of Tennis & Strength Conditioning at IMG Academy in Florida and says he wants to impart his knowledge to the next generation. "Once again, I've noticed her greatness, her feeling that she has to keep going without giving in.
Perhaps there will be no athlete greater than her. But I want to continue to give back the things I learned with her to the younger generation."