'I'm Saying Goodbye': Maria Sharapova Retires From Tennis at Age 32


Don't know if you share my sentiments. This was news. That is not remotely surprising. We were all expecting this. I think Most people had already pre filed. The Maria Sharapova retires column and yet I gotTa say it feels you know an hour into this but Feels a little weird definitely I. This is not like Last time we had big Sharipova News at SL which was of course it. Two Thousand Sixteen and that that was a big surprise. This like you said I think we all saw it coming. It was a matter of when and not if so for to be now is I think a pretty normal timing given whether she's going to play Indian Wells and Miami probably would have kick started her into the French and Wimbledon and then sort of. You're playing out the year at that point so for her to call it quits after all. Cheyenne this little gaps. Seems to make sense but I don't know what do you think? Yeah ranked ranked three seventy three. Something had to give here. This is a five time major champion. Who you did not think was going to play the wild card game for very long. I I guess I would perhaps suspected she would have played Indian Wells. It's an event where she's had success. It's two hours from her home in southern California she would have gotten a grand sendoff But you know this. This is I had these two competing instincts with Sharipova. What what do we know about her? She is fiercely. Driven fiercely competitive. She is and always has been. I think we can talk about this a bit later. The consummate professional and those are really dueling instincts when you're ranked three seventy three and not playing it anywhere near the level that you're accustomed to Part of you probably says I can fight through this. This is just more adversity. I can overcome. I'm better than this. I just need to work harder. I can get my body right. I can get my mind right. I can get back. I don't WanNa go out like this and another part of you says surely I can't have this indignity. I can't be losing round after round early. I'm not seated so I'm playing tough opponents. My Body's giving up on me so I think you had and they came from the same place but they're two very different ways to react to to the same core instinct and today she said enough is enough. I mean I think you're right that You know February is a strange month in tennis. And I guess you know we're we`re. There's no perfect way to retire from the sport and we see even within tennis players very differently. Some players go on this goodwill tour and some players like Caroline Wozniacki says look. I'm going to pinpoint this as my last event and go ahead and prepare your tribute reels. And I'm GonNa play this event knowing when I lose my last match. That's IT and Sharipova. We've seen other players. There's players do this as well. Sharapova pulled us out of the blue and it's it's a Wednesday and she's not at a tournament today And retired in her own way. So I don't know I mean the other. There are a number of questions that stem from this whole conversation and jump in any jump in anytime here. I mean I think the overall question when a player retires as we assess legacy I don't know particular bullet points. Jump out at you Jamie. I think I think highs and lows complicated legacy Of course is going to be attached to share over The the craziest thing I think if you look at the timing now she's ranked three hundred seventy three which says absolutely nothing about her career but to your point. I mean she was at the point now where she was trying to come back and she's nowhere even near the top one hundred You know not even winning any matches and it's it must be really hard for her honestly to you know given all that she's accomplished. I think we said thirty six. W titles obviously the five Grand Slams all these rivalries quote unquote particularly with Serena Williams which is also another interesting conversation to have but I think it was probably getting difficult for her to continue to be you know struggling and Her her legacy given you know the the MELDA NEOM and the ban will always thou always be part of her story? Yeah I think you're absolutely right and today should be happy day. Celebrate a five time major champion. I mean I was looking at her staff and I think we forget how good she was for for a variety of reasons. I think to the casual tennis fan. They were misled by two. One is the head to head with Serena that you reference. She beat Serena Breakthrough Center women. Final Two thousand four and then she loses whatever. The math twenty two is the derived. So lose eighteen nineteen matches to Serena Williams And I think that to the casual fan that we say rivalry. And then we sort of have to amend that to say with a lopsided rivalry which might be an oxymoron. The other thing about Sharipova that I and I wrote about this that I think is a great Sort of misleading bid about her is she had this regal disposition and she endorsed product after product. And it was very upscale. And it's Evian Cole Haan I remember you. I remember walking in New York and seeing her on three different billboards for three different upscale products. And there was this or of elegance. She was selling herself as much as she was a brand. She was selling sort of cosmopolitan posh elegance in yet. The tennis was. I was called her sort of tennis. Gym Rat I mean. It was not elegant tenants by any stretch and Jud admit to that and she was in her own way your own six foot one inch which she was a grinder and she was not what you call an athlete. He wasn't a graceful mover. She did not play graceful elegant tennis and I always thought that was really to her credit. That you'd see her on the back court and she'd be doing her footwork drills because she knew that was an area to improve and she would be working on her serve which always gave her fit in part because of the shoulder injury and she would grind out matches and she would win tough matches. She did not. This was not the female Roger Federer and I think tennis fans of course know that but I think casual fans see all of this aura of elegance and assume she played that way and that wasn't the case at all I mean the the screaming grunting grinding sweating. You'll brushing the hair that had managed to her forehead. That's the Maria Sharapova on the tennis court has an athlete And I think you know again I want to just this should be a day to give credit to someone who had a tremendous career and five majors. Yes but thirty six titles almost forty million dollars you got to number one. I mean this is really an a-list career and you know she had the misfortune of playing. At the same time Serena Williams and there was a lot that went into that relationship beyond the tennis. That probably did not work to Maria benefit but you take away. Cerita you take away. Venus Williams seven majors. Maybe Justine Henin. Maybe Kim Clijsters and I think it's very easy to make the case. Marisha published one of the top five players of the Post Steffi Graf of the last twenty five years and tennis so this is really a remarkable career. And yet as you mentioned if we're going to talk about her honestly. This wasn't the way it was supposed to end. Which is you know a a doping ban. I thought a very clumsy handling of the doping ban. I thought it was very out of character and off brand of her to have been so sloppy. Not just in the violation but then in the aftermath and how it was handled and some of the the the the press conference that we referenced and she was never the same player after that and you know co correlation is not causation and may simply have been that. She was a little sport and she was in early thirties and players get older. We see this on not just in tennis but in in sports in general I mean thirty two big number in in women's tennis but it was not supposed to end with a doping band and a ranking that drifted deep into triple figures so overall macro great career hall of fame player but there is a tinge I think of bittersweet. There is a little bit of disappointment. That This wasn't the way this hall of fame career was supposed to be a gift. Compare what we saw a month ago when Caroline wozniacki is out there on the court and our families there and she's toasted and all of the players are making tribute videos and were. She's crying but she's saying I'm not sad and she does. I mean I talked to her the following day. She was all gussied up because she clearly had been doing the spots around. There's definitely a difference of a decision on your terms and decision that was made based on your body and The time of your career. You know it's it's very different in comparing into. What was the Yankee especially given those? The Yankees recent title in Australia just seemed very full circle for her to do that. this again is random but also very expected. I think one of the things I always sort of liked about Sharipova was Her personality in in two ways. I think we talk. You talk about her on the court sweating grinding shrieking. I mean everyone. I think even if you're not a big tennis fan you know share Provo. Because maybe she made you mute the TV while you're watching a match and that's something that a lot of people will probably joke about but you know she worked hard in the court she was always like fierce and and you know a competitor for sure but she also you know. I remember processors and and interviews where she's actually has a very great personality and and you know quite opposite of that fierce competitor where she could be funny and she was actually Kinda Witty and and You know there was a a side to her personality. That was very likable. When most people on the court probably saw the opposite so overall she's a huge name. In this sport she's one of the handful that transcends just tennis you you mentioned her and she needs only one name There's only a handful of those type of athletes so I think She will definitely be missed. I think we're fair to

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