Tennis star and pin-up Maria Sharapova has announced her engagement with British businessman Alexander Gilkes, a friend of Prince Harry and Prince William.
Sharapova, who retired from tennis in February this year, has been dating the Gilkes since 2018. She posted photos of them along with the news of the engagement on social media on Thursday.
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“I said yes from the first day we met,” wrote Sharapova. “This was out little secret wasn’t it?”
Congratulation on your engagement. You two are a lovely couple. You will be the perfect soulmate of each other. Best wishes and blessings.@MariaSharapova & #alexandergilkes 💍❤️😍😭 pic.twitter.com/AVMskeB30u
— socita Sharaoiva (@ijz98a) December 17, 2020
The 41-year-old Gilkes is a co-founder of venture studio Squared Circles and Paddle 8, an online art auction house. The Brit reportedly went to Eton college along with Prince Harry and the two have been good friends since.
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A former auctioneer, the London-born Gilkes has been living in New York since 2008. He was on the Art+Auction’s list of 100 Most Powerful People in the Art World for three years from 2014-2016. Having divorced his first wife – fashion designer Misha Nonoo—in 2017, Gilkes started dating Sharapova a year later.
Sharapova, who has dated fellow tennis player Grigor Dimitrov in the past, was engaged to Slovenian basketball player in 2011. In August 2012 the pair ended their engagement and split up.
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The Russian had first shot to fame in 2004, when she defeated World No 1 Serena Williams in the final to win the Wimbledon title at 17 years of age. Sharapova has won each of the four Grand Slams once, and the French Open twice.
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.
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Shortly after losing to Donna Vekic in the first round of this year’s Australian Open, Sharapova announced her retirement.