Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has announced retirement from professional tennis. "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? I'm new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis—I'm saying goodbye," she wrote in an essay for Vogue and Vanity Fair.
Sharapova became an overnight star when she was crowned Wimbledon champion at the age of 17 in 2004. The Russian went on to win the US Open crown in 2006 and Australian Open title in 2008. Her twin triumphs at the clay courts of Roland Garros at the French Open in 2012 and 2014 were are considered to be her biggest achievements as they came at a time when her bitter rival Serena Williams was the at the peak of her domination of women's tennis.