Maria Sharapova still hungry after injury hell
Maria Sharapova is once again trying to hit the fur off tennis balls but admits she may no longer be feared.
Sharapova said she was grateful for her “second career” after a nightmare injury layoff and insisted she had the tools to return to the top of the women’s game.
“In some way I wish I could say I was vacationing for 10 months and then all of a sudden I kind of wanted to play again,” Sharapova commented.
“But every single day I was trying to find a way to get back out there. It’s hard when something is taken away from you. For me it was about three or four months where I really didn’t pick up a racket.
“That was the first time in my life I’ve had to do that since I started playing tennis. It was really strange waking up and knowing you’re not going to go out on the court.”
Sharapova defied doctor’s orders to sneak in a bit of practice while convalescing.
“After a month I remember I would just tell my coach I’m going out there and I’m playing left-handed,” she laughed. “The doctor would tell me ‘You can’t move your arm around too much even if you’re not hitting with the right hand.’
“I would have battles with my physiotherapist all the time because I wanted to get out there.
“Finally, when I had the opportunity to play and to start from scratch and just hit half-court for five minutes from the first day, I absolutely realised just how much I missed it.”
Maria said she had reached a different stage in her career.
“It’s obviously like a second career in a way when you’re almost out of the rankings and you’re working your way up and you’re not feared anymore,” she said.
Maria is continuing her rise to the top of women’s tennis this week at the Pan Pacific Open where she has won her first 2 round matches.