Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova wants to stay in the sport for “many more years," she told the Australian Open website on Wednesday.
Sharapova, who reached the semifinals of the tournament by crushing compatriot Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-3 earlier Wednesday, is 24, the age at which she once said she would retire.
“I see myself playing this sport for many more years because it's something that gives me the most pleasure in my life,” she said.
“I'm sure when I was 17 years old and someone said: ‘You'll be playing for another eight years,’ it would be like, ‘Yeah, really, you're not going to see me at a press conference at 25 years old.’”
“But years go on. I missed a year in my career. … A few weeks before [the Australian Open], I woke up and I was jut so happy to be going back on the court. I felt so fresh, full of energy.”
In 2007, Sharapova vowed to retire at 24, emulating Kim Clijsters, who left tennis that year only to return in 2009. "I want to have a family, of course. I want to try other things in my career," Sharapova told The Australian at the time.
Sharapova plays Czech second seed Petra Kvitova in the Melbourne semifinals.