In an interview, Russia's Tennis Federation chief Shamil Tarpischev said that Maria Sharapova could end her career in 2019, but the Shenzhen Open Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho said that he does not have any information about it.
Shenzhen Open will mark the beginning of Sharapova's 2019 season from December 31st to 6th January. 'There is a lot of speculation about a lot of top players' retirement. People speak about (Roger) Federer (Rafael), Nadal, Serena (Williams), Maria (Sharapova).
Her team did not mention anything to me about her retirement, I hope she plays for a few more years. Maria is such a global ambassador for the sport, she is very popular all around the world but especially here in China,' said Carvalho.
The Brazilian also explained why Naomi Osaka chose to open her season in Brisbane and not Shenzhen: 'When Naomi Osaka won the US Open and really became a star, we had already finalized our player's field and we did not have too much window for her.
But Naomi will play for many more years and we hope to have here in the future,' said Carvalho, who assured that the WTA Shenzhen Open will be played for many more years despite being the new host city for the WTA Finals in October, from 2019 to 2028.
Commenting on the defending champion Simona Halep's absence for upcoming Shenzhen Open, Carvalho concluded: 'Halep has been injured, we obviously would have liked to have her back here but she decided not to play during that week of the season in order to get a better preparation ahead of the Australian Open.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title