Maria Sharapova announced the breakup with a great sport in a touching letter published in VanityFair.
“How can you leave behind the only life you ever knew? How to get away from the courts where trained from childhood, from the game that I love, which was forced to cry bitter tears and jumping for joy from the sport, which gave a real family of fans who support you over 28 years in a row?
I don’t know. Because I’m a beginner in this matter. So, please forgive me. Tennis, I bid you farewell…
But before we get to the end, let me tell everything from the beginning. When I first saw a tennis court and my father played it. Then I was four, I was in Sochi in Russia. So small that my tiny legs dangled from the bench where I was sitting. So small that matched my racket was two times more than me.
When I was only six years old, that my father traveled around the world to get to Florida. Then the whole planet seemed huge. Airplane, airport, vast expanses of America – it was huge, like a victim of my parents.
I started playing and the girls on the other side of the grid was always older than me, taller and stronger. Well, the great tennis player I’ve ever seen on TV, seemed to me unattainable. But little by little, every day on the practice court, this almost mythical world was becoming more real and real.
My first courts were of rough concrete with faded lines. Eventually they turned into a dirty clay, and then in the gorgeous, well-groomed grass that has ever entered my legs. But never, even in my wildest dreams, I never thought that win tournaments on the biggest stages of the sport. And on every surface.
Wimbledon seemed a good start, I was a naive 17-year-olds still collect stamps and do not understand the greatness of his victory. Until I got older, I was glad that did not understand it then.
My advantage, however, has never been associated with a sense of their own superiority over other players, It was more of a danger of falling from the cliff. That is why I continue to return to court to figure out how to continue climbing.
The U.S. open showed me how to overcome absent-mindedness and excessive expectations. If you can’t cope with the turmoil of new York- good. The airport is nearby. Goodbye.
The open championship gave me what was never extreme confidence, which some people call “being in the zone”. I really can’t explain this phenomenon,
Clay in the Open championship of France has exposed almost all of my weakness: first, my inability to glide through it. But I was able to overcome them. Twice. And I felt fine.
These courts have discovered my true self. For photoshoots and beautiful tennis dresses they were exposed to my flaws – every wrinkle, every drop of sweat, They tested my character, my will, my ability to channel their wild emotions to where they worked for me and not against me. Between my vulnerable places feel safe. How lucky I am that I found this ground on which I felt so vulnerable and at the same time, so comfortable?
One of the keys to my success was that I never looked back and never looked forward. I believed that if I continued to plow and plow, you will be able to reach incredible heights. But there is no skill in tennis you have to just continue to listen to the demands of the court, trying to appease these incessant thoughts in your head:
You’ve done enough and more to prepare for the next opponent?
You took a couple of days do not lose the boundaries.
This extra piece of pizza? Better catch up, great morning workout.
Hearing this voice in my head and anticipating his every sound, I took those last signals that they send me.
One of them appeared in August last year at the U.S. Open. Behind closed doors for half an hour before going on court, I had to be to counter the numbness of the shoulder to go to court. Shoulder injury not news to me, over time my tendon was frayed like a string. I had several operations, one in 2008 and the second in the past. Then there were the countless months of physical therapy. Just come on the court that day seemed to me the final victory, although it was supposed to be only the first step to victory. I share this not to elicit pity, but to paint my new reality: my body has become a distraction.
It’s been with me throughout my career. Was it worth it? This question never stood. All these pros and cons were with me always. My vitality has always been the strongest weapon to use. Even if my opponent was physically stronger and more confident, but just better, I could and continued to fight hard. I never feel obligated to talk about work, or effort, or hardness—every athlete understands the sacrifices he must make in order to succeed. But when I start the next Chapter, I want everyone who wants to succeed in anything, he knew that doubt and judgment is inevitable: you will fail hundreds of times, and the world will be watching you. Take it. Trust yourself. I promise that you will win.
I gave my life to tennis, and tennis gave me life. I will miss him every day. I will miss the training and the daily routine: Wake up at the crack of dawn to lace up my left Shoe before the right and close the gate of the court before will score his first goal for the day. I will miss my team, my coaches. I’ll miss those moments when I could sit with my father on the bench. The handshakes, victories or defeats. For athletes, whether they know it or not, which forced me to be the best.
Looking back, I realize that tennis was my mountain. My path was filled with valleys and detours, but the views from the top were incredible. However, after 28 years and five titles Grand Slam I’m ready to climb another mountain-to compete in other areas.
But this ruthless desire to win? It will never decrease. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic and all the lessons I received along the way.
And while there are a few simple things that I really look forward to: a sense of peace in my family. Linger over a morning Cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend. A workout of my choice (Hello, dance class!).
Tennis has shown me the world and showed what I’m made of. So I was testing myself. And so, no matter what I chose for my next Chapter for my next mountain, I’m still going to fight. I’m still going to climb. I’m still going to grow.”