-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
Tune up those backhands, gentlemen. Maria Sharapova is back on the market.
After taking down Mallory Burdette in straight 6-1 sets on Friday in the third round of the U.S. Open, Sharapova revealed that her engagement to -- indeed, her entire relationship with -- former Laker Sasha Vujacic is finis. And she did so via what must be a first with celebrity engagement breakups: not only did she not dodge the question, she wondered why it hadn't been asked before:
"It's been since the end of spring actually," Sharapova said. "I was waiting for someone to actually ask me that question, but nobody did directly."
Sharapova was able to remain focused on tennis, winning the French Open earlier this season to complete a career Grand Slam. She's now in the round of 16 in the U.S. Open for only the second time since winning the Open in 2006.
The culprit behind the breakup? The dueling career demands of two globetrotting athletes. "It was a really nice period of time for both of us, but our career schedules just made it extremely difficult to see each other with the traveling, and especially his career move to Turkey," she said. "He wasn't home one time during the 10 months that he was in Turkey, so that made it extremely difficult." Vujacic had played for the Lakers from 2004 to 2010 and for New Jersey in the 2010-11 season, but left the NBA to play professionally in Turkey last season.
Sharapova added that she still respects Vujacic and hopes to remain friends, which, while a nice thought, may be a tougher trick to pull off than winning the U.S. Open.
The couple had planned to marry in November in Turkey. Best wishes for both in their future romantic endeavors.
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