Three years after retiring from professional tennis, Maria Sharapova has stunned fans with her unexpected move into a new sport. The former world No.1 has revealed that she will be competing in the world of pickleball.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a hugely popular sport that is similar to tennis but played on a smaller court with plastic paddles and a perforated, hollowed-out plastic ball.
Sharapova's Pickleball Debut
Sharapova has announced that she will be taking part in the second ever Pickleball Slam early next year. She will be teaming up with tennis legend John McEnroe to take on Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in a doubles match in February.
Pickleball Attracting Tennis Stars
Pickleball is not only attracting Sharapova's attention, but a host of other tennis players are making the jump to this fast-growing sport. Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist, has also signed up to play pickleball next year. Former men's tennis player Jack Sock has also made the switch.
Sharapova's Competitive Edge
In a video announcement, Sharapova admitted feeling a mix of competitiveness, nervousness, and anxiety about her upcoming pickleball match. The winning team of the Pickleball Slam will receive an impressive £816,000 prize. The event will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida.
Sharapova's surprising career move has created a buzz in the sports world. As more and more tennis stars show interest in pickleball, it seems that this sport is on the rise and here to stay.