Maria Sharapova and boyfriend Alexander Gilkes are looking forward to the next chapter.
Gilkes — the co-founder of online auction house Padddle8 — on Wednesday posted a sweet message to his lady love on Instagram after Sharapova announced the end of her tennis career.
“To the kindest and most professional person I know, here is to you Maria, and all that awaits you in your next chapter! May you continue to inspire us all with your deep humility, self-deprecation, strength and focus. As a remarkable first chapter closes with so many extraordinary fetes, we look forward to all that you will accomplish with equal grit in the years to come. Proudly and lovingly,” Gilkes captioned a shot of Sharapova on the court.
Earlier in the day, Sharapova, 32, addressed her retirement in a personal essay for Vanity Fair.
“I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis — I’m saying goodbye,” she wrote.
Sharapova leaves behind a legacy consisting of five Grand Slam titles and a 2017 comeback that followed a 15-month doping ban.
Despite professional struggles, a constant in Sharapova’s life over the past few years has been her relationship with Gilkes. In October 2018, the pair went public with their romance via social media.
Sharapova was previously linked to former NBA player Sasha Vujacic and fellow tennis star Grigor Dimitrov, whom she briefly and awkwardly reunited with last month during an Australian tournament. As for Gilkes, his fashion designer ex, Misha Nonoo, is rumored to have played royal matchmaker to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.