It has been a year since Maria Sharapova got back on the tennis court after her doping ban, but she is still struggling to keep her ranking up. After flunking out of Indian Wells early, she decided to withdraw from Miami Open, citing her left forearm injury as the reason. Despite the fact that she won her first WTA title at Tianjin Open in 2017, her shaky prize has kept her ranking low at 42nd place.
The 30-year-old player envisioned a great comeback in which she shows the world that the doping ban did not have an impact on her performance. However, Maria’s return to the court has not gone as smoothly as she hoped.
“Since returning from a 15-month doping sentence, Sharapova has seen mixed results,” reports NY Post. “She made a statement with an impressive first-round upset against Simona Halep at the US Open before winning the Tianjin Open last October, her first WTA title in two years.”
After her loss, she decided to fire her longtime coach Sven Groeneveld, with whom she had worked together for four years.
“I’ve known that since the comeback that I have to work to get myself to be in a seeded position and to get what they call a better draw, all those things,” Maria Sharapova said according to NY Post. “That takes work, that takes time, I’m not afraid of any of that.”
After that, she had to face angry fans on Twitter, who had already purchased tickets to see her play at the upcoming Miami Open. To that, the former world number one fired off, saying that she is doing the professional thing.
“I don’t usually have much interest in sharing my injuries because they come with the territory of being a professional athlete, from which we handle them the best way we possibly can,” she wrote on Twitter according to WTA. “But maybe at the core of it, it has never been my style. I don’t sign up for anything in my career unless I am fully committed to it.”
Check out her full statement below.
Despite the hiccups in her professional career, the 30-year-old has a new love in her life and it looks like he is to stay. Alexander Gilkes, a successful businessman, has been seen with her multiple times on the streets and in airports with Maria.
“The 30-year-old Russian player is involved in a new romantic relationship with Alexander Gilkes,” reports Tennis World USA. “One proof is good, two is better: in January they were seen together at the Los Angeles airport, now a few days ago they were spotted hand by hand at the Gagosian gallery in Beverly Hills.”
While it can be aggravating to not be able to compete due to an injury, at least Maria has a boyfriend to keep her optimistic and hopeful as she works towards the Grand Slam season.
She has not yet announced when her next court appearance will take place.