Maria Sharapova says 'goodbye' to tennis admitting 'my body had become a distraction'

Maria Sharapova says 'goodbye' to tennis admitting 'my body had become a distraction'

Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from international tennis in a personal essay for Vogue and Vanity Fair.

The five-time grand slam champion and former world No 1 is saying goodbye to the sport after 28 years, saying her "body had become a distraction" as a result of chronic injuries.

Indeed, Sharapova, 32, has had to contend with shoulder problems in her matches and her position in the world rankings has since fallen to 373.

Check out this interview the tennis star did on The Ellen Degeneres Show back in 2013:

Announcing her retirement in a personal essay on Vanity Fair, Sharapova writes: "I’ve had multiple surgeries - once in 2008; another procedure last year - and spent countless months in physical therapy... I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction."

Opening up in great detail about her career in her Vanity Fair essay, she continues: "Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain. My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible. After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain - to compete on a different type of terrain."

Credit: PA

"That relentless chase for victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

In the meantime, there are a few simple things I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways. Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!).

Tennis showed me the world - and it showed me what I was made of. It’s how I tested myself and how I measured my growth. And so in whatever I might choose for my next chapter, my next mountain, I’ll still be pushing. I’ll still be climbing. I’ll still be growing."

Sharapova first won Wimbledon in 2004 when she was only 17. Throughout her career, she has been recognized as one of the most accomplished players of her generation, with only Serena and Venus Williams having won more slam titles.