Maria Sharapova has called a press conference for tonight where she will make a ''major announcement'' which has sparked speculation of a possible retirement from professional tennis.
The 28 year-old, who has suffered from ongoing injury issues in recent years, is expected to announce her retirement, having only played in three tournaments in the last eight months.
In 2016 alone, she was impeded by an injury to her left forearm which ultimately resulted in a quarter-final exit in the Australia Open against Serena Williams.
Following on from that, the former Wimbeldon champion was also forced to withdraw from the BNP Parbas Open in California taking place later this month on account of the fact that she has not recovered from her forearm problem.
My personal favorite match of Sharapova's career. (Which is not over until she says so.) https://t.co/5XCLXMA9lN
— Chris Skelton (@ChrisSkelton87) March 7, 2016
Speaking about the decision to bow out of the event, Sharapova said:
''I am extremely disappointed that I am unable to compete in this year’s BNP Paribas Open. I have been focused on healing my left forearm injury and tried to get my body to be 100% ready to play this event, as it is one of my favourite events on the WTA and so close to my home in LA.''
Maria Sharapova went from sports anonymity to celebrity status in 2004, when she won her first Grand Slam in Wimbledon at just 17 years of age, making her one of the youngest winners of that competition alongside Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis.
— Tennis Legend (@TennisLegende) March 6, 2016
She then went on to win the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open two years later before claiming two French Open titles in 2014.
There is a possibility that Sharapova may be in relation to her thriving business model outside of tennis but they are rarely described as ''major announcements'' by those in her management team.