Maria Sharapova will be a married woman very soon. On Thursday, the 33-year-old retired tennis player announced she's engaged to British businessman Alexander Gilkes, who is also a close friend to Prince William as the two have kept in touch since college. Sharapova and Gilkes went public with their relationship in 2018.
"I said yes from the first day we met," Sharapova wrote on Instagram. "This was our little secret, wasn't it?" Sharapova first confirmed the relationship when they took a trip to the Cotswolds in October 2018. Prior to the getaway, Sharapova and Gilkes were spotted at the Argento Ball for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in June 2018. The couple was also seen together in Beverly Hills multiple times in March of that year.
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Sharapova has time to start a family now that she retired from tennis. She called it a career in February in a guest column for Vanity Fair. "I'll miss it every day," Sharapova wrote. "I'll miss the training and my daily routine: Waking up at dawn, lacing my left shoe before my right, and closing the court's gate before I hit my first ball of the day. I'll miss my team, my coaches. I'll miss the moments sitting with my father on the practice court bench." Sharapova also wrote that she was ready to enter the next chapter of her life now that tennis is over.
"Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain," she added. "My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible. After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I'm ready to scale another mountain—to compete on a different type of terrain. That relentless chase for victories, though? That won't ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I've learned along the way."
Sharapova competed in the WTA Tour from 2001 to 2002 and was ranked No. 1 in the world by the WTA five different times. She is one of 10 women to hold the career Grand Slam, meaning she won the Australian Open, French Open (twice), Wimbledon and US Open. She also won a silver medal when competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.