After nearly 19 years on the WTA tour, former World number 1 Maria Sharapova announced her retirement in February of this year. The Siberian champion turned professional in 2001 at the age of 14 and three years later she won her first Wimbledon.
The Russian would have won four more Grand Slams titles, including a Career Grand Slam, and spent a total of 21 weeks as the world's number 1. “To be honest, I was very stubborn in the past couple of years with my body.
I struggled a lot with it because I kept thinking that it would a hurdle I could pass, and I could get better,” she said in a recent LIVE with Novak Djokovic. “It’s been somewhat of a transitional relief that I’m not putting my body through that anymore.
There are some things that are still a part of me that I carry through in this transition, and some of it I’m ready to let go. My dad said to me, ‘Do you not want to go out on the private court and hit some balls?’ and I’m like, ‘No.
No. No!’. Last night, I went in the basement and I went on the indoor stationary bike at 172 heart rate, and I’m like, ‘Why? Why am I doing this? I was ready for the transition and I think I set up a really good base for myself.
I’d say the transition is different than I thought it would be because of what we’re all facing in today’s environment" - Masha added. According to Forbes, she has been named highest-paid female athlete in the world for 11 consecutive years and earned US$285 million (including prize money) since she turned pro in 2001. In 2018, Sharapova launched a new programme to mentor women entrepreneurs.