Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova opens up on her surprise decision to retire from tennis earlier this year, saying she had lost sight of the competition.
In February, Sharapova bid farewell to tennis at the age of 32.
“I realized that I was showing up but not as a tennis player by now and I had lost sight of the competition,” said the Russian in an interview with Inc.
“I know that time is precious and it’s valuable and it’s a commitment when you say yes to something, you’re committed to it a hundred percent. I was driven by that motto.
"I don't always believe in chasing and grabbing and always being on the go," says @Sugarpova founder @MariaSharapova. "I do believe that things come to you at the right time. The connections that you make, they take time to develop." #Inc5000 pic.twitter.com/EW5Y0M4LzB
— Inc. (@Inc) October 21, 2020
“It became a vigorous process, a tough process to handle next to my team members and I realized there’s a lot of value in that time and I could apply to so many other, better, more meaningful ways.
“For so many years, that was the sport. And I just believed and committed to applying (it) to other things in my life.”
Sharapova had burst onto the tennis scene as a teenager in 2004, when she defeated Serena Williams to win Wimbledon. The statuesque Russian with blond hair soon became the most marketable female athlete in the world.
Sharapova backed that up with success on court. She has each of the four majors, and the French Open twice after once claiming she felt like a ‘cow on ice’ on clay.
But in 2016, Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, a drug that was put on the banned list that very year. Though the Russian served her ban and made a comeback to the game, she could never really hit the earlier highs.
Shortly after losing to Donna Vekic in the first round of this year’s Australian Open, Sharapova announced her retirement.
“You have to search within yourself and what you feel, what your body tells you and also what your mind is saying,” she says on her decision to retire.
“You can have influences from people who are close to you and want to guide you towards the right decision, but to the in the end it is you who decide for your career and you must be 100% sure you do it this way.”
Having already set up her candy company ‘Sugarpova’ during her playing days, Sharapova is now making strides in her business career.