Five-time Grand Slam tournament winner Maria Sharapova has agreed to a 'yes forever' as she announces her engagement to British businessman Alexander Gilkes. The duo have been in a relationship since 2018.
Sharapova began playing tennis as a young child, and in 1993 she caught the attention of Czech-born American tennis star Martina Navratilova. Following a suggestion by Navratilova, Sharapova and her father moved to Florida from Russia in 1994, where she quickly earned a scholarship to a tennis academy. She shot to fame at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships. Her upset of the top seed and defending champion, Serena Williams, led her to her first Grand Slam singles title - also making her one of the youngest females ever to win the title. She was served a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open. The former number soon found herself unable to return to the top of the game after the suspension as she dealt with recurring tendon damage in her right shoulder and inflammation in her forearms
The 33-year-old Russian tennis star ended her 17-year long career earlier this year. In a sentimental essay on VanityFair.com and Vogue.com, Sharapova wrote: “How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known?,” wrote Sharapova. “How do you walk away from the courts you’ve trained on since you were a little girl, the game that you love—one which brought you untold tears and unspeakable joys – a sport where you found a family, along with fans who rallied behind you for more than 28 years?”
She added, “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis—I’m saying goodbye.”
A fully-fledged entrepreneur, her candy brand Sugarpova is carried in major grocery stores and airports around the world.
Sharapova and Gilkes were first spotted together at the Argento Ball for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in June 2018 as well as in Beverly Hills in March of 2018. The couple confirmed their relationship in October 2018, while on a romantic trip to the Cotswolds. Sharpova shared a series of Instagram pictures and videos to make the grand announcement of their engagement. “I said yes from the first day we met. This was our little secret, wasn’t it,” Sharapova captioned her engagement post.