Maria Sharapova announced that she will play a pickleball exhibition alongside John McEnroe against Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
The 36-year-old Sharapova retired from professional tennis in 2020, leaving behind her years of glory where she reached world No. 1 and became a 5-time Grand Slam champion, with the unique achievement of winning all four major titles, a feat accomplished by only four other players in the Open Era.
As one of the greatest tennis players in history, with 36 career titles, the Russian tennis star has been away from professional tennis for three years and has been dedicated to her fashion business and various investments.
This time, she announced through her social media channels her upcoming foray into the world of pickleball and will participate in an exhibition match with other tennis legends.
In particular, she will team up with John McEnroe against the married couple Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, a match that features four former world No. 1 players and a total of 42 Grand Slam titles among the four former tennis stars, with Graf leading the pack with 22.
“I’m playing pickleball. And not just any pickleball, I am playing with John McEnroe against Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi,” she said.
“February 4, in Miami, at the Hard Rock [Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida], it’s the Pickleball Slam 2,” Sharapova added.
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“Dare I say I’m getting a little competitive, and slightly nervous and anxious?
“But don’t mind me, I can’t wait to see you there, tune in, watch us, support us. Let’s go team… what’s our name?”
John McEnroe surprised by appearing in Sharapova's video and said, “Team Mac. The Mac Attack is back for Pickleball Slam 2.”
There's much on the line for these former tennis legends, as the champions of this event stand to claim a significant $1 million prize. McEnroe, who experienced a loss in this year's edition alongside Michael Chang, is counting on Sharapova to bring that winning edge, as Agassi and Andy Roddick emerged victorious last time.
In a broader context, the world of pickleball has been gaining immense popularity, even attracting renowned figures like former Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard. This sport has seen investments from prominent athletes such as Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and LeBron James, highlighting its growing significance beyond the tennis world.