After a career of almost twenty years and five Grand Slam titles, Maria Sharapova decided to put an end to her career on Wednesday. Former tennis star and television commentator Kristie Boogert thinks that the tennis world will miss a unique personality.
"Sharapova was a very different type of tennis star than we often see now. She was mentally very strong and therefore stood on the court with an attitude that was very impressive. I always saw her as a terrier: Sharapova got stuck in something and did not let go anymore, "says 46-year-old Boogert in conversation with NU.nl.
"Because of that attitude, she often led 3-0 in a match. Sharapova was also a hard worker and incredibly disciplined. You saw in her tennis that combination of her Russian roots and the fact that she grew up in the US, where nothing too crazy. She really was a tennis icon. "
The now 32-year-old Sharapova already established her name in top tennis at the age of seventeen by winning Wimbledon, followed by titles at the US Open (2006), the Australian Open (2008) and Roland Garros (2012 and 2014). Only five players, like the Russian, managed to complete a so-called Career Slam.
"It is special that she has won all Grand Slam tournaments, but I think it is great that as a hard court player she has just won two titles on the gravel of Roland Garros. In my opinion, that is perhaps the most extraordinary of her career. She proved to be a keeper after her early Wimbledon title, "says Boogert.
Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at the age of seventeen. (Photo: Getty Images)
"After doping suspension, she has never regained the rhythm"
Sharapova did not achieve much in the last years of her career. The former number one in the world was given a 15-month suspension in 2016 for the use of the prohibited substance meldonium, which marked the beginning of the end for her career.
Sharapova made her comeback in April 2017 and won the Tianjin tournament in October of that year, but never reached the final of a WTA tournament again. A period full of injuries followed, as a result of which Sharapova never came close to her top level.
"If you want to characterize her career, you will see a career with many side jumps. Firstly because of the suspension for the use of meldonium, but also because of the many injuries. Unfortunately, after her return from that suspension, she never regained her pace" , says Boogert.
"Someone of her status shouldn't have to spend too long and be dependent on wildcards to take part in tournaments. It does adorn her that she will stop immediately and not have a farewell tour. She can look back on a wonderful career."
See also: Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova (32) puts career behind