Maria Sharapova has officially announced her engagement to British entrepreneur Alexander Gilkes, who is known to be a close friend of Prince William and other members of the British royal family.
"I said yes from the first day we met❤️This was our little secret, wasn't it. Maria Sharapova
Sharapova and Gilkes announced their engagement simultaneously through social media posts on Thursday.
Sharapova shared a black and white photo of herself and her fiancé on Instagram, saying: “I said yes from the first day we met❤️This was our little secret, wasn’t it.”
Gilkes shared his own black-and-white post, saying, “Thank you for making me a very very happy boy. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you, and learning from you @mariasharapova #?.”
The WTA was quick to shared the same photo and congratulate Sharapova on her engagement announcement.
Sharapova’s announcement also drew well wishes and congratulations from fans and famous pals alike, including a sweet comment from actress Lily Collins.
“Ahhhhh yessss congratulations!!! 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖,” Collins wrote under the former athlete’s post, while sportscaster Erin Andrews also told Sharapova “congrats” on the engagement.
The 33-year-old Russian, who officially retired from the WTA Tour earlier this year, had a stellar on-court career that was hampered by a series of injuries and a doping scandal, while off-court, she has developed a successful business empire.
Despite the doping suspension, she has maintained her popularity and remains in the spotlight even during the extended periods that she she has been away from the court.
For his part, Gilkes is best known as a British businessman and co-founder of online auction house Paddle 8.
He went to Eton College with Princes William and Harry, and is close friends with Princess Eugenie and Pippa Middleton.
Sharapova and Gilkes went public with their relationship back in March 2018 when they were spotted together in Beverly Hills before attending the Argento Ball for the Elton John Aids Foundation in June.
The relationship was further made official when they were seen taking a holiday together at the Cotswolds in Oct. 2018.
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, the husband of Princess Beatrice, was one of the first to congratulate the couple. “Yippee. A lifetime of love and happiness together. I am so thrilled for you both,” he wrote.
Before Gilkes, Sharapova dated fellow tennis star Grigor Dimitrov and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
She was also previously engaged to former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Sasha Vujacic. The two split in 2012.
Gilkes was previously married to designer Misha Nonoo, who is responsible for setting up Meghan Markle with Prince Harry, but they split in 2016 after 13 years together.
When the five-time Grand Slam title winner retired from tennis she announced the news in a guest column for Vanity Fair in February.
“In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” Sharapova wrote.
“I’ll miss it every day,” she continued. “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’s final match of her career came at the 2020 Australian Open, where she was defeated in the first round by Donna Vekić.