Maria Sharapova fans can rejoice after her announcement she isn’t ready to give up on tennis. Not just yet anyway despite an underwhelming few years due to a variety of reasons.
The Russian former world number one and multiple Grand Slam winner featured in only eight WTA tournaments in 2019 thanks to a shoulder injury but she reckons she isn’t done.
Speaking to the Aussie media ahead of her first tournament of the season in Brisbane, the wild-card entrant Sharapova, admitted she did not think as a youngster she would be playing past the age of 30 but was looking to give a lot more. And while she has fallen to outside the top 100 on the WTA Rankings, Sharapova said she had no plans to retire.
“I want a fresh start after a tough last season. There were a lot of ups and downs in 2019; also times when I was ready but the shoulder wasn’t.”
“But I have had a fairly good off-season and I am motivated to compete on a high level again. At this point in my career, it’s a good sign when I have that feeling.”
The Russian will hope her shoulder holds up though, something she is more focussed on than her results. She said it was more vital for her to feel good about her fitness than winning matches at this stage.
Sharapova’s first tournament in Brisbane will see her potentially lock horns with the likes of Australian world number one, Ash Barty, Czech star Karolina Pliskova, defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, and the likes of Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens. Given she would enter the tournament on a wildcard, it could set up a potential early clash with any of these seeded players with Sharapova.
She enters the new season on the back of a win against Ajla Tomljanovic at the Mubadala Tennis Championships, however she pulled out of an appearance in Hawaii last week.