Cape Town – Maria Sharapova says she has no intention of retiring just yet, as there is still a lot she wants to achieve in tennis.
Since her return from her doping suspension in 2017, the Russian has found results harder to come by, although she did manage to play her way back into the world’s top 25 this past year, notably reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
That’s still a fairly modest level of success for a former five-time Grand Slam champion, leading some to speculate that the 31-year-old may be nearing retirement.
Not so, says Sharapova, who wants to continue doing what she loves, as it’s one of the few things in her life she feels she has truly excelled at.
“It’s a nice feeling to know you’re really good at something,” said Sharapova.
“I don’t know. It’s a good self-esteem booster because I’m not good at any other sports. I’m worthless at many other things, but I go out on the court and I feel like I’m really good at this. I’ve accomplished a lot, and why wouldn’t I continue? Why wouldn’t I want to get better and improve? It’s something that I’ve done for a very long time and something that I feel, you know, there’s still so many opportunities for me and things to achieve.
“Motivation has never really been an issue. Obviously the shoulder has been a big part of my career and something that I’ve had to get through.
“I’m very privileged to do what I do, and I love it.’
Sharapova also said she was lucky for things to come together like they did in her career, allowing her to achieve incredible success at a very young age.
“There are little pieces of the puzzle that makes or breaks somebody’s career, absolutely,” she said. “I mean, it’s easier to say that when you’ve been there and you’ve won Grand Slams and been No 1.
“The guidance that you have is so important. The people that take care of your body, that have a plan in place, that do the fitness, that also has to get along as a group, it’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
“I’ve been fortunate. I have had a fairly consistent team in my career. I have changed coaches a couple of times, a couple of physios but have been on the tour for many years. Some have families, and they come and go. But I have been very lucky with the people I have had on my team.”