Maria Sharapova is retiring from tennis after a professional career that spanned more than two decades and saw her capture the career Grand Slam, an Olympic silver medal and the world No. 1 ranking.
Sharapova, 32, made her professional debut on her 14th birthday in 2001. At 17, she won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon by upsetting top-seeded Serena Williams in the final and became the third-youngest woman to win Wimbledon.
“In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” Sharapova wrote in an essay announcing her retirement for Vanity Fair. “I’ll miss it everyday. I’ll miss the training and my daily routine: Waking up at dawn, lacing my left shoe before my right, and closing the court’s gate before I hit my first ball of the day. I’ll miss my team, my coaches. I’ll miss the moments sitting with my father on the practice court bench. The handshakes — win or lose — and the athletes, whether they knew it or not, who pushed me to be my best.”
She reached the No. 1 ranking on Aug. 22, 2005 and captured the U.S. Open title the next year. In 2008, she didn’t drop a set all tournament en route to…