“I feel like I’m 30,” said Maria Sharapova after a comeback win in her first match of 2009, the week before the French Open, defeating Italy’s Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-3 in a rusty first-round match at the WTA event in Warsaw. “It’s definitely strange.”
It was a long-awaited return for the Russian, who has struggled through rehab after shoulder surgery in late 2008.
“I feel like I’ve been around for so many years and you come back after nine months and you’re eating dry pasta without sauce and you’re thinking: ‘Oh, is this what I came back for?’” Sharapova said following the win. “But then you go out on the court and it’s like: ‘This is what I came back for!’”
The 22-year-old three-time Slam winner and former No. 1 confirmed she still has plenty of fire in her belly after a nine-month injury layoff.
“I don’t think I’ve done enough,” she told the media. “I feel I can accomplish a lot more. I may be 22 years old but I’m not done. I have many things to do and many things to accomplish and I’m a girl on a mission.”
In the next round the Russian wildcard could next face the top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, commenting that her time off has left her rusty and aching for competition.
“In these nine months, the only thing that I’ve accomplished is a good pasta carbonara,” Sharapova joked. “At the end of the day, that’s not my specialty. My specialty is to go out and compete in Grand Slams.”
The No. 126-ranked Russian will have her hands full not only this week, but getting through the first week at Roland Garros on her worst surface, the red crushed brick of Europe.
“Right now I’ve been not playing for nine months, so everything is a test,” she said. “Every single day is a test, especially after you have surgery…It’s a whole different ball game when you haven’t been there in a while and it throws you off a little bit.”
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