• Sunday, Jan 29, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Fast-lane Sharapova gears up for Stuttgart return

  • Published at 01:06 pm April 22nd, 2018
Fast-lane Sharapova gears up for Stuttgart return
Maria Sharapova spent time prior to the start of the Stuttgart Grand Prix flinging a factory-fresh 700-horsepower Porsche 911 RT2 RS around a test track in Germany's automobile capital. For the five-time Grand Slam winner who turned 31 last week, the PR exercise with former F1 driver Mark Webber, alongside a photo shoot for a loyal sponsor, was a joy in comparison to last season. After serving a 15-month drugs ban for use of the illegal heart medication meldonium, Sharapova's return to the WTA circuit began in Stuttgart exactly a year ago. She is back, coached for a second time by Swede Thomas Hogstedt after splitting in March with Sven Groeneveld, and begins in the first round against France's Caroline Garcia. Her 2017 Stuttgart comeback rekindled fond memories for the Los Angeles-based Russian, who lifted the title three years in a row from 2012-2014. It was a relative success despite ending in the semi-finals with a defeat by Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. It marked the re-emergence of one of the most charismatic figures on the WTA, a winner whose star power was missed by many during her absence. Yet the road to return has been far from smooth for Sharapova, who has suffered with a forearm injury as well as dealing with subdued hostility from some players, fans and even tournament directors. Last year, the Russian was denied a French Open wild card and did not enter Wimbledon qualifying due to injury; her season highlight came when she won the Tianjin title in China after reaching the US Open fourth round. "There are a lot of things that I need to get better at and improve on. But looking at the overall picture, the overall beginning of this year... first thing is that I'm healthy," she said at the Australian Open. "I'm not starting from zero, there's a lot to build from -- personally that's important for me." However the world number 42 has managed only nine matches in 2018 due to her arm problem. "This is a process. It's a lot of things that take time," she added in January. With her fitness still not up to standard, Sharapova lost in the first round of Doha in February, withdrew from Dubai and was sent out in the Indian Wells first round by eventual tournament winner Naomi Osaka of Japan. But her Stuttgart return comes at a crucial time as she looks to play herself into form for the clay season and a tilt at adding to her 2012 and 2014 Roland Garros victories. Others looking to kick-start their French Open preparations include fellow former world number one Angelique Kerber, Germany's most recent golden girl who followed Sharapova's title hat-trick by winning Stuttgart back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. World number one Simona Halep heads the field ahead of Spain's Garbine Muguruza, third seed Elina Svitolina and Roland Garros holder Jelena Ostapenko.
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail