The 33-year-old Russian enjoyed a glittering career that saw her complete a career Grand Slam, win 36 WTA titles, and spend 21 weeks as No 1.
She will always be remembered for her first major success which arrived as a 17-year-old at Wimbledon in 2004.
Currently quarantined with her parents at home due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, Sharapova reflected on how she came to the decision to retire during an Instagram live chat with men’s world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
“To be honest, I was very stubborn in the past couple of years with my body. I struggled a lot with it because I kept thinking that it would a hurdle I could pass, and I could get better,” she said.
“It’s been somewhat of a transitional relief that I’m not putting my body through that anymore. There are some things that are still a part of me that I carry through in this transition, and some of it I’m ready to let go.
“My dad said to me, ‘Do you not want to go out on the private court and hit some balls?’ and I’m like, ‘No. No. No!’ Last night, I went in the basement and I went on the indoor stationary bike at 172 heart rate, and I’m like, ‘Why? Why am I doing this?’
“I was ready for the transition and I think I set up a really good base for myself. I’d say the transition is different than I thought it would be because of what we’re all facing in today’s environment.”
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) May 5, 2020
Sharapova, who suffered from a spate of injuries during her career, also spoke about what she hopes to do in her life after tennis, highlighting her interests in architecture, health and wellness, developing sporting facilities and art.
“Part of this whole new ‘retirement thing,’ whatever that really is, is exploring, having the time, and dedicating the time and working on the future,” she said.
“A large part of me is ready to go and is ready to work and is ready to achieve new things, I also know that I’m kind of new and whatever I set up so far while I was playing, a lot of that will take time to develop.”