Sharapova broke the news to fans in a message on her Instagram account, along with a picture of herself holding a racket as a young girl.

“Tennis showed me the world – and it showed me what I was made of,” Sharapova wrote. 

“It’s how I tested myself and how I measured my growth. And so in whatever I might choose for my next chapter, my next mountain, I’ll still be pushing. I’ll still be climbing. I’ll still be growing.

“Tennis – I’m saying goodbye.”

In calling time on her career, Sharapova leaves a sport in which she won five Major titles: two at the French Open, and one each at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open.  

The first of those titles came on the grass courts of Wimbledon in 2004, when aged just 17 she stunned top seed and defending champion Serena Williams in the final. 

That announced her arrival as a sporting superstar as she reached the heights of world number one, going on to win Grand Slams in New York in 2006, Melbourne in 2008, and the clay courts of Roland-Garros in 2012 and 2014. 

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