Follow former World No.1 Maria Sharapova's announcement that the five-time Grand Slam champion will be retiring from tennis effective immediately, WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon released an official statement:
“I congratulate Maria on her outstanding career in professional tennis. 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. I look forward to following her successes in the years to come as she steps away as a true champion of our sport.”
IN PICTURES: The best of Sharapova's champion career
The tennis world and celebrities alike reacted to the news on social media, led by WTA Founder Billie Jean King:
From the day @MariaSharapova won her first #Wimbledon title at age 17, she has been a great champion.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) February 26, 2020
A 5x major champion and a former World No. 1, her business success is just as impressive as her tennis achievements.
Maria, the best is yet to come for you! #MissYouMaria
It was a pleasure to share the court with you @MariaSharapova— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) February 26, 2020
We always had great battles when we played and I have so much respect for your hard work and the way you always fight for everything.
You have achieved a lot in your life so far and I know this is just the start 🤗 pic.twitter.com/PLi1Od4Eru
I have so much respect for Maria. She will always be an example for myself and lots of kids on how to compete and get the best out of yourself no matter what. Pretty cool to be remembered this way in your career!— Daria Gavrilova (@Daria_gav) February 26, 2020
Congrats on a stellar career @MariaSharapova . Thank you for all that you have done for our sport, but most of all, thank you for being there for me in the darkest of moments in Puerto Rico. You showed your simplicity, sincerity, wonderful personality and humility through it all. pic.twitter.com/66mZzp8GEM— Monica Puig (@MonicaAce93) February 26, 2020
@MariaSharapova congratulations Maria for a wonderful career- which includes a career Grand Slam- and bringing a lot of new fans to the sport we love- tennis. Enjoy your life after tennis- I wouldn’t dare call it retirement! #vacationtime :)#lifeisgood#acttwo— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 26, 2020
It’s been an honor to have worked with such an amazing athlete and person. I’ll miss her on court and outside. I’m sorry we couldn’t work together for longer.But I know our paths will cross again and I can’t wait for it. In the meantime, good luck with everything @MariaSharapova pic.twitter.com/Fpvx6EvJXm— Riccardo Piatti (@RPiatti) February 26, 2020
🏆 Vincitrice di 5 Slam, 3 volte campionessa a #Roma nel 2011, 2012 e 2015, @MariaSharapova annuncia il ritiro dal #tennis giocato in un'intervista: "Tennis, I'm saying goodbye".#ibi20 #tennis #sharapova pic.twitter.com/syGvZFGuEe— Internazionali Bnl (@InteBNLdItalia) February 26, 2020