STARNBERG, March 2, 2020
After almost 19 years of plying her trade as one of the top female tennis players in the world, Russian born Maria Sharapova has quietly announced she will exit stage left from a solid tennis career. It was a career that included her countering more than her fair share of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Among the highs include five Grand Slam titles, 36 WTA titles, four International Tennis Federation titles and 21 weeks (cumulative) as the No. 1 ranked female player in the world. All of this good work has led to career earnings of $39 million, good enough for Sharapova to stand as the third-highest prize earner in women’s tennis history. Among her other career achievements are: being the first Russian born player to hold the career Grand Slam and being named one of the “100 Greatest Women’s Tennis Players in History” by the Tennis Channel in 2012. Oh, it was no small thing that this beautiful physical specimen was featured as a model in the highly popular 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Sports bettors all over the world will never forget Sharapova for her knack of playing the underdog. Coming along at the same time Serena and Venus Williams were starting to rule the tennis world, it was seldom that Sharapova would be listed as favorite to win any event that included the Williams sisters as participants. That almost always ensured Sharapova would be listed at a solid betting price. BTW: If you are interested in betting on the upcoming French Open, this German site says they are one of the most popular options in Eastern Europe.
As for the lows in Sharapova’s career, she struggled mightily with shoulder injury issues, including one that indirectly led to her failing a doping test that resulted in her receiving a two year suspension from women’s tennis in 2016. The two-year suspension was later reduced to 15 months, at which time Sharapova returned to competition.
The doping suspension aside, it was the constant barrage of injuries that likely forced Sharapova to call it a career, a career that began in 2001 at the age of 14. By 2003, the Russian teenager had already captured her first two WTA titles, leading to “Newcomer of the Year” honors. The very next year, she went into Wimbledon as the number 13 seed. By the time the tournament concluded, she was standing alone with her first Grand Slam title, something she earned by defeating then No. 2 ranked Serena Williams in the finals.
By 2005, Sharapova had reached the pinnacle with her first stint as the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. She went on to add the 2006 U.S. Open title to her resume before injuries started taking its toll on her career. In 2007, she encountered her first shoulder injury, which resulted in a successful comeback in 2008 when she won the Australian Open. Unfortunately, she would go through two more years of injury problems before she would begin another successful comeback.
While she continued to play well up until her suspension, Sharapova was never again able to establish any meaningful consistency due to injuries. She is retiring at the 32. One can only imagine where her career would have ranked had she not lost almost five years of her prime sitting on the sidelines.