Maria Sharapova shares phone number with fans in extraordinary virus move

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Maria Sharapova shared her phone number with fans online. Image: Twitter/Getty

Maria Sharapova has shared her phone number on social media in an attempt to connect with fans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 32-year-old announced her retirement from tennis in February and apparently has a bit of extra time on her hands.

‘SUFFERING’: Serena Williams caught in major Margaret Court drama

‘ARE YOU SERIOUS’: Bouchard cops heat over 'social-distancing' pic

The five-time grand slam champion took to Twitter on Friday with a message for her fans during the unprecedented global crisis.

“Not only did I just get a 310 number (hello cool cats) but I’m sharing it with you—Text me! For real,” she wrote on Twitter alongside a video.

“Tell me how you’re doing, ask me questions, or just say hello. Any great recipes welcome too.”

In the video she explains her rationale.

“I’ve been trying to find a way to be in touch with all of you because last week I did a really fun Q&A on a video conference with 150 of you,” she says.

“I wanted more. A big part of that is because we’re all in this social distancing together, so I want you to text me what you think.

“Text me and wait to get a response.”

Needless to say she was flooded with replies and the video had been watched 2.5 million times on Monday afternoon.

Former American player Mardy Fish even responded.

“Sheesh Maria, I’m married. Keep it chill,” he wrote.

Unprecedented times amid tennis shutdown

Two major tennis tournaments have been cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But not the US Open.

On March 17, the French Open was postponed until late-September and on Thursday Wimbledon was cancelled as the WTA and ATP postponed their tours until at least July 13.

The United States Tennis Association, however, said it does not plan to cancel or reschedule the grand slam, which is pencilled in for August 24 to September 13.

Maria Sharapova in action at the Australian Open in January. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

“At this time, the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament,” the USTA said via a statement.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.”

The grounds of the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre, in Flushing Meadows in Queens - where the US Tennis Championship has been held since 1978 - are currently being outfitted to hold temporary hospitals.

Queens, one of the hardest hit areas by COVID-19 in New York, has been struggling to slow the spread of the virus and treat those affected.

with AAP