The tennis community on Twitter was taken aback when five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova announced her retirement at the age of 32 on Wednesday, even though the writing seemed to be on the wall given her recent injury struggles.

“Tennis – I’m saying goodbye,” Sharapova said in an article for Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines.

“After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain – to compete on a different type of terrain.”

Sharapova shot to fame as a giggly 17-year-old Wimbledon winner in 2004, the third-youngest player to conquer the All England Club’s hallowed grass courts. She became world No 1 in 2005 and won the US Open the next year.

But in 2007 Sharapova began her long on-off battle with shoulder trouble. She would win the 2008 Australian Open before a second shoulder injury kept her off tour for the second half of the season, missing the US Open and Beijing Olympics.

In 2012, Sharapova captured the French Open to become the 10th woman to complete a career Grand Slam. She added Olympic silver to her resume that year. Her 2014 French Open title was another high after a dispiriting injury low.

In 2016, she served a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open. The Russian came back to tennis in 2017 but was unable to replicate her prior success. She is ranking is currently 373rd.

With AFP Inputs