Speculation is growing about Maria Sharapova’s future after the Russian superstar of women’s tennis called a press conference to make what was termed a ‘major announcement’.
The 2004 Wimbledon champion will speak publicly in Los Angeles at around midday Monday local time (7am Tuesday AEDT), with the inevitable rumour being she is about to signal her retirement from the sport.
Sharapova has played only three tournaments in the past eight months and has recently had a succession of problems with her right arm and shoulder, the latter having already required surgery in 2008.
It would appear likely that her career has hit another hiatus, and in recent days the world No 7 announced she was withdrawing from this week’s high-level event at Indian Wells.
Certainly it is unusual for a press conference outside a tournament to be given such billing, although Sharapova has so many commercial projects on the go that it would not be past her to make an announcement with half an eye on promoting some venture.
Though she is only 28, Sharapova has already had a long career, making her professional debut on her 14th birthday. She has often said she is unlikely to emulate the Williams sisters by playing into her mid-thirties.
The Russian shot to superstardom as a 17-year-old by upsetting hot favourite Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. Sharapova went on to complete the career Grand Slam, winning five majors up to now, most recently the French Open in 2014. If Sharapova does signal the end she will not be short of ways to keep busy. She has her own tennis clothing line, designs shoes and handbags, and owns sweet company Sugarpova.