In an extensive interview with the NY Times earlier this month, Maria Sharapova updated her fans on the state of her game entering the 2014 season.
Sharapova has been off the tour mending a shoulder injury that forced her out of the US Open. The injury, she revealed to Christopher Clarey, first sprung up during the clay season and prematurely ended her year in August. After months of rest and rehab under the guidance of a new team led by coach Sven Groeneveld, Sharapova is optimistic for 2014.
“I don’t think I would form a new team together and that I would go through the efforts of trying to come back if I didn’t have it,” she told the Times. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of work, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t feel strongly about what my goals are and what I feel I can accomplish.”
If Sharapova wishes to return to the top, that road will likely take her through rival Serena Williams. The two exchanged words in the press during Wimbledon over love interests. Sharapova now dates Grigor Dimitrov who was rumored to be with Serena last year. Serena called Grigor a guy with a “black heart”. Sharapova responded alledging Serena is dating her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, who is married with kids.
Looking back now, Sharapova regrets how it all came out. But she stands by her words.
“The thing is,” Sharapova said at lunch, “I didn’t say anything that was not true, so it’s not like some secret she told me that I gave out to the world. I said something that everyone knew, except no one expected me to say it.”
“On the court, I have the utmost respect for her; I really do,” she said of Williams.
And off the court?
“It’s different,” she said. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s different, and to me, even though that tennis is such a huge part of our lives, at the end it’s such a small part of our lives, and I value so many other more important things in life than just the sport.”
“Maybe not; I’ve kept my mouth shut a lot of times in my career, you know, but I’m an open book really,” she said. “The things I say at my press conferences, I don’t lie. I don’t pretend. I respect where respect is due. I speak bad of my game and of myself when I feel I deserve it. I’m very honest.”
Also in terrific Clarey’s story, Sharapova says that having Grigor has been a big help in her return. She also said she and 1-match coach Jimmy Connors are still in touch. She regrets their brief partnership, but insisted because she had the shoulder injury the arrangement with Connors never had a chance.
The 26-year-old Russian is scheduled to official return at Brisbane in two weeks.
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