Tennis great Maria Sharapova announced her retirement on Wednesday, ending a stellar career that included five grand slam titles and prize money exceeding $38.7 million.

The 32-year-old Russian-born player wrote in the pages of Vanity Fair magazine a love letter to the sport that made her one of the world’s most famous female athletes since the turn of the century,

“How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known? How do you walk away from the courts you’ve trained on since you were a little girl, the game that you love — one which brought you untold tears and unspeakable joys—a sport where you found a family, along with fans who rallied behind you for more than 28 years?” she wrote.

“I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis — I’m saying goodbye.”

She captured singles titles at Wimbledon in 2004, at the U.S. Open in 2006, at the Australian Open in 2008 and at the French Open in 2012 and 2014.

“In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life. I’ll miss it everyday,” Sharapova continued.

“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.”


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