“Pinch Myself Daily for the Timing of That Decision”: Maria Sharapova Reflects on the Brilliance in 2020 Amid Harsh Realities

Published 01/02/2021, 5:24 AM EST
Maria Sharapova of Russia looks on during her WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019 tennis match on January 28, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Besides being considered one of the most glamorous athletes, Maria Sharapova’s performances speak for themselves. She has held the top spot in the WTA rankings on five occasions. Furthermore, she has won all four grand slams in the game and is the only person from her country to hold this honor. 

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Sharapova won her first slam when she faced Serena Williams at Wimbledon, back in 2004. Much to everybody’s surprise, Maria knocked off the then world no. 1 in straight sets. That win granted her overnight stardom. Since then, the Russian has done remarkably in her career and has won 36 titles overall. 

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 27: Maria Sharapova launches Sugarpova at Kingdom of Sweets on June 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images for Sugarpova)

Maria Sharapova: Got the Courage to Let Go of the Life and Career I Knew

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As the year 2020 ended, players around the world have poured in their wishes and thoughts on the previous year. The former world no. 1 also posted a thoughtful message on Twitter.

The 5x Slam Champion wrote, “2020, I imagined you to be very different. As we all did! Admittedly, you sprinkled some brilliance in midst of harsh and heartbreaking realities. Personally, you gave me the courage to let go of the one life and career I ever knew.”

In the previous year, Maria took a tough decision and announced her retirement from the game. To call it a day is one of the toughest decisions an individual makes. On the other end, she announced her engagement to a British businessman, Alexander Gilkes.  

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In her New Year message, she also stated, “I pinch myself daily for the timing of that decision. And you gave me the gift and commitment of a lifetime waking up next to my best friend every morning. Incredibly inspired for what’s to come in 2021. Happy New Year!!”

Sharapova retired from the game after her first-round loss to Donna Vekic at last year’s Australian Open. As she enters a new chapter in her life, we wish her the very best moving forward. 

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DIVE DEEPER

“Having Deep Thoughtful Conversations”: Maria Sharapova Highlights Her Takeaways From the Atypical Year of 2020

6 months ago

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Rohan Kollare

707 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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