SHARAPOVA CAMP DENIES RETIREMENT RUMOR
This week during the MPS Group Championships in Ponte Vedra Beach, top-seeded Nadia Petrova let slip with what she framed as a rumor that Maria Sharapova’s shoulder surgery may have been so severe as to be career ending. Sharapova underwent rotator cuff surgery late last year, and this year has yet to make a singles appearance on the WTA Tour.
Sharapova’s camp says — no such luck for the other players on the WTA.
“Wishful thinking by many of the players,” Sharapova’s agent Max Eisenbud replied in an e-mail. “Maria will be back on tour very soon!”
Sharapova did play doubles-only at the Indian Wells event, losing first round.
Last year Sharapova missed the Olympics and the US Open when tests on her shoulder revealed she had been playing with a torn rotator cuff tendon for months.
“He actually couldn’t believe that I’ve been playing this long with this injury,” Sharapova said at the time. “You can imagine that I was not very thrilled to hear that my medical team did not see this tear in my shoulder back in April.”
No update from the Sharapova camp as to where the starlet, who just finished up a series of commercials and appearances for sponsors in her downtime, is currently attending to her rehab — some reports say Arizona, where she did much of her rehab last year, and some say Florida. The SportsBusiness Journal reports the Russian will next take to the court at the WTA event in Rome on May 3.
Regardless, it will be a welcome return to what has become a somewhat bleak tennis landscape what with the on-again off-again injuries to Serena Williams, Venus Williams who hasn’t challenged for the Top 3 since 2003, the retirement of Justine Henin, the collapse of the Serb contingent Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, and the sidelined Sharapova.
BEHIND SERENA LOSING NO. 1
Fans have been perplexed as to the reason for the WTA announcement that Serena Williams will lose the No. 1 ranking two Mondays from now on April 20, after the Charleston/Family Circle Cup event.
Serena played this week in Marbella, Spain, even with an injured thigh, losing first round. Turns out that Serena would have had to do very well in both Marbella and Charleston to retain the No. 1 ranking and keep Russian Dinara Safina from backing into the No. 1 spot for the first time in her career.
The WTA made the new-No. 1 announcement after Marbella, because they knew (yet has still not yet been announced officially — will happen later today according to WTA officials) that Serena would be withdrawing from Charleston.
Marbella and Charleston are worth less points than last year due to the WTA Tour’s calendar restructuring.
Hopefully the younger Williams sister can heal her injured thigh in the meantime and rejoin the tour when it heads to the European red clay, getting some matches under her belt before Roland Garros.
Safina in the meantime, 0-2 in Grand Slam final appearances, has been impressively humble and well-spoken regarding her ascent to No. 1.
“There’s no question that while I am very proud of my results over the past year, I would have liked to reach this achievement in a different manner,” Safina said in a media release. “I hope to prove to everyone over the coming months that I merit the honor of being world No. 1.”
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