Maria Sharapova is back on the court and she cannot wait to prove herself at the US Open 2017. Knowing that Serena Williams will not be playing, as she is almost nine months pregnant, the Russian will be able to have her road to the championship cleared of her major rival. But Maria Sharapova is not the only one plotting a comeback.
Serena Williams is not letting the baby stop her from training. Although she is in her third trimester and just weeks from giving birth to her first child, she has been training as much as she can. In fact, she plans to continue making history on the court when she is no longer pregnant.
"I am looking forward to becoming a mother and coming back to the courts already," she said to the Telegraph. "I'm always thinking about what's next: the next victory, the next trophy."
The 33-year-old tennis player revealed that she trains not just to get back into the game quicker, but also to keep the baby "healthy." But at the core of her exercising routine is keeping her weight at a manageable level.
"[W]hen I come back to tennis it'll be better if I've kept as fit as possible all the way through the pregnancy rather than having to lose a lot of weight afterwards in order to get fit again," she added. "Eating healthily is a must, but being healthy is a lifestyle."
Check out Serena showing off her baby bump on the court!As she is taking time off from professional tennis, her rival is getting back in the game. Maria Sharapova, one of the most famous tennis players in the world, was banned from the game for 15 months for doping. She submitted applications to gain entry into Wimbledon and French Open this year via wild card, but she did not get the opportunity to prove herself.
That chance became available when the US Open 2017 accepted her entry. Now, as "the 148th-ranked player," she will be able to fight for her old glory on American soil.
"Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wild-card selection process," the USTA wrote in a statement, according to ESPN. "Consistent with past practice, a wild card was provided to a past US [Open] champion who needed the wild card for entry into the main draw."
She is also using the fact that she will be in New York to promote her autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far that she wrote during her doping ban.In a recent interview, the 30-year-old player chose to ignore the fact that Serena Williams will not be playing at the American tournament.
"I can't look past the fact that I haven't played for a long period of time, and you can never replicate what you do in training to playing matches," she said to Hampton Magazine. "[...] So that's where my mind and my focus is, rather than who I'm going to be playing against."
Check out Maria on the cover of the magazine!In her autobiography, she did not maintain this kind of disinterested attitude toward Serena Williams.
"People often wonder why I have had so much trouble beating Serena; my record against her is two and 19," Maria Sharapova wrote in her book. "[...] I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon. But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry."
With Serena Williams out of the game at the US Open 2017, Maria Sharapova will be able to show the world if she still has what it takes to become a champion.
[Featured Image by Joe Scarnici/AP Images]