It might have been uneasy times for Maria Sharapova to return into tennis in April of 2017 after serving her 15-month drug ban, but she had high hopes and had to battle her opponents on court and many comrades and tennis professionals on and off the tennis circle. It was obvious that she was trying to gain rhythm and the perfect strategies to bounce out victories. But many of her opponents have improved their games since that time. She appeared to be focused on winning games and matches with maybe her long term sights being on winning a title.
It was the need for Sharapova to obtain wild cards to enter tournaments and that became more of her priority, playing well and winning was the added objective. “I’m not getting a wild card to receive a trophy or a gold platter…I have to get through the matches and I still have to win them and that’s my job,” she said rather defiantly. Sharapova had concerns about always being given a wild card since there was resistance from tournament directors to now issue her one, stopping her participation on the tennis tour.
Another issue had crept into the Russian’s intentions on playing matches was the ailments and injuries that her body was going through resulting in constant and rigorous playing. The issues of returning from being banned were slowly starting to creep up on Sharapova as she stayed determined to play as many tournaments as she’d gotten a wild card for. But the desire and fire that followed her at the beginning of her return were slowly dissipating. First, it was whether she would be given a wild card, then getting treatment for the ailments and injuries and being able to bounce back in time for the next event. The other issue that started to plague Sharapova were the withdrawals. In March it was the Miami Open, where she’d suffer from a forearm injury. A few months later in June came a withdrawal from the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham for exhaustion.
This 2018 season for Maria Sharapova has had its series of surprising wins, lackluster performances and injuries from leg strains to an agonizing and chronic shoulder ailment. She had to withdraw from Beijing, Tianjin–where she was the defending champ–and Moscow’s Kremlin Cup to nurse her should and to be ready for the 2019 season. Sharapova had mentioned on her social media that “I will miss competing at each of these tournaments, but it is important that I allow for proper rest and recovery in the upcoming weeks.” She was unable to win any titles this season but made the semifinals in Rome, the Italian Open and the French Open where she reached the last eight for the first time in four years. In Grand Slams this season she did get to the quarterfinals of the French Open, the Round of 16 at the US Open, the Round of 32 in Australia, at but Wimbledon she bowed out in the opener.
When the 2019 season spins around she’ll be at the helm of it, starting with the Shenzhen Open. Maria Sharapova will naturally try to achieve another title but she has many other avenues to concentrate on today despite tennis being her livelihood and her passion. There is her candy empire “Sugarpova,” her book “Unstoppable, My life so far,” being on the cover of “Entrepreneur” magazine on how to succeed in business along with keeping viable for her sponsorships as Head (racquets), Nike, Tag Heuer watches, Porsche, and Evian water to name a few. Sharapova has gotten together with Virgin Enterprises CEO Richard Branson helping him with his tennis and being a passive observer and guest at Necker Island, in the Bahamas, Branson’s island retreat in preparation for the 2018 Manuka Doctor Necker Cup, a 6-day Pro-Am Tennis Event. Sharapova experienced her first chess lesson from Branson and he has gotten tennis pointers from Sharapova.
As for Maria Sharapova’s zest and determined pursuit for another title to add to her 36, fans and the tennis community probably haven’t gotten that though on it being Sharapova’s imminent goal in tennis. It seems at this time she just wants to enjoy her business empire, get satisfaction and victories at playing tennis, and gain some relaxation time in between.