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WTA chief Simon: Sharapova will be missed by millions of her fans worldwide

The 32-year-old Russian player said on Wednesday that she wrapped up her sports career

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Millions of tennis fans worldwide will be missing Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, who announced on Wednesday her retirement from the sport, WTA (Women Tennis Association) Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said on Thursday.

The 32-year-old Russian player wrote in her column of Vanity Fair monthly magazine "Tennis - I’m saying goodbye."

"I congratulate Maria on her outstanding career in professional tennis," the WTA press service quoted Simon as saying. "Her achievements of a career Grand Slam, winner of 36 WTA titles and reaching the coveted No.1 ranking reflect her deep dedication and passion for the game."

"She will be greatly missed by her millions of fans around the world, but I know this will also mark an exciting new beginning for Maria as she now focuses on her many business ventures, charitable activities and other outside interests," the WTA chief continued.

"I look forward to following her successes in the years to come as she steps away as a true champion of our sport," Simon added.

Sharapova is Russia’s most decorated female tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006 in addition to her 36 WTA titles.

She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.

The Russian player skipped a vast part of the tennis season last year due to a shoulder injury and she stayed out of competitions from February to mid-June. Last August, she parted ways with her Swedish coach Thomas Hogstedt, who had trained her between 2011 and 2013 and with whom she resumed their training partnership in 2018.

Her most recent triumph was to win the 2017 WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in China. At this year’s opening Grand Slam series tournament, the 2020 Australian Open, Sharapova failed to clear the opening round having lost to Croatia’s Donna Vekic.