sport news Maria Sharapova's ban left her brand in trouble... the battle to salvage her ...

Over the last four years Maria Sharapova has been fighting for her brand and her legacy, and now that battle is over.

Vanity Fair and Vogue were her vehicles of choice on Wednesday, when she announced that she was retiring from tennis after a career that brought with it triumph over early adversity, mountainous earnings and disgrace.

As her apparently self-penned, valedictory piece meandered through the 'valleys and detours' of her journey there was no mention of the 15-month doping suspension. That was to effectively end her time as a player of great distinction, among the finest of her era.

Maria Sharapova has battled to save her legacy after her drug's ban and underwhelming return

Maria Sharapova has battled to save her legacy after her drug's ban and underwhelming return

Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32 on Wednesday afternoon

Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 32 on Wednesday afternoon

It always appeared to be the case that this second phase of her career was about trying to preserve and burnish the memories of the first, not to mention the enormous riches which accompanied it.

The latter has come to an end, and she bows out with an aching shoulder and a ranking of 373, mixed among the wannabes, has-beens and never-weres of women's tennis.

Sharapova, 32, made nearly $40million in prize money, and many multiples of that from the corporations that once flocked to be associated with her combination of talent, and titles.

Aged 17, she achieved worldwide fame in 2004 by defeating Serena Williams to win the Wimbledon title, beginning what was erroneously, in pure tennis terms, often described as a rivalry.

Defeating Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final launched the pair's heated rivalry

Defeating Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final launched the pair's heated rivalry

She was only to beat her once more while losing 20 times to the American. The two have cordially loathed each other, and Sharapova has put it down to this defeat.

In her autobiography she referred to the 'guttural sobs' she heard in the locker room from her vanquished opponent that day. 'I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,' she concluded.

It had already been a remarkable journey for the Russian. She was taken, alone, by her father as a young child to Florida after showing early promise at striking tennis balls.

Sharapova was to become world No 1 and win four more Grand Slams to complete a collection of titles at all the Majors. Surprisingly, and most impressively, two of these came at the French Open, where she showed she had overcome an aversion to the movement required on clay.

She could hit from the baseline with intimidating power and an

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