Maria Sharapova retires after 28 years with 5 Grand Slam titles

MOSCOW: Maria Sharapova has finally announced her retirement. Since returning to the WTA Tour in the spring of 2017, after serving a 15-month doping ban, Maria Sharapova played a total of 73 matches. She had 45 wins. One title and one major quarterfinal only.

Those numbers - as meagre as they are for a woman of mighty achievement - serve just one purpose, they show that she tried, she toiled. She trained and turned up at tournaments, her mind keen, her body creaking. Her shoulder sore, her spirit soaring.

What did that ban, following her positive test during the 2016 Australian Open for the newly banned drug meldonium, cost her?

It's a question that will echo across the tennis world for time to come. After being handed an initial two-year suspension, she appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which partially reduced the penalty, ruling she bore 'less than significant fault' in the case and could not be considered 'an intentional doper.'

Did it then cost the 32-year-old the home run to a stirring career that included time at No.1, on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks, five major titles, that was kick-started by her charge to the Wimbledon crown as a 17-year-old in 2004? Is she then the dancing queen, robbed of a significant last dance?

Her friend of many seasons, men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, with who she shared many a laugh, applauded the Russian's guts in touching tribute.

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