Sharapova Camp Denies Rumor; Behind Serena Losing No. 1

by Richard Vach | April 10th, 2009, 1:42 pm


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. ADHEREL

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.


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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14 Comments for Sharapova Camp Denies Rumor; Behind Serena Losing No. 1

zola Says:


***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.***

there you go! seems Safina is taking over because Serena is pulling out of Charleston!

tennisontherocks Says:

Thanks Zola. This makes more sense now. Also I checked new points system. last year, Serena won 860 points at Charleston and this year, max points she could win was 470. so 400 points drop is pretty big to overcome.

Von Says:

Too bad for Sharapova; I’d hazard a guess, unless she has some bionic parts in her shoulder, that her career is nearly over. henceforth, she has to be very careful with her shoulder lifting or anything else, and considering the manner in which the plays, power play, muscling the ball so intensely, she could experience another tear in the repaired rotator cuff, which would definitely end her career. I speak as someone who has personally experienced that injury and am cognizant of the limitations it places on its victim. A very sad wake up call for Maria.

zola Says:

**last year, Serena won 860 points at Charleston and this year, max points she could win was 470. so 400 points drop is pretty big to overcome.**

wow! that IS a big change. Did they downgrade Charleston? It took me a while to understand the ATP system. At least you can see where they get the points. With WTA it is a bit more complicated.
MMT gave in link in another thread on how it works, but it will take a bit of time for me to fully process it!

tennisontherocks Says:

yeah, Charleston was tier 1 event last year, now its Premier. But in premier they have 3 categories: mandatory with $4.5 million prize money, special 5 with $2 million prize and 10 or so others with $700K-1million. Charleston is the third category now. very simple, right :)

Vared Says:

Guess the new goddess will be kimmie ;-)

Colin Says:

Amusing to see the article refer to Sharapova as a “starlet” rather than a “star”!

Richard Vach Says:

von, I would bet she’ll be back to speed by the end of the year. I had a similar shoulder surgery and it is a LONG recovery process.

Von Says:

Richard: I hope for her sake she’ll be back and fully recovered. You have my empathy, considering we both suffered a similar fate. I still have to be extremely careful when lifting anything, and have given up on playing tennis. For me, as a woman, it was a project trying to get dressed, with that one arm sticking out. Ha, ha. You guys are so lucky.

zola Says:

you have an eye for details! “starlet”?

I watched a bit of Azarenka’s match vs Kuzzy. I want to see a match between her and Sharapova. I don’t think there will be one unbroken glass within 50 miles!

But seriously, I hope she can play a few more years.

I think it will depend on how Kim will play. Remember Hingis and Davenport and even Capriatti. Seems the comebacks are not as successful as one thinks. But who knows. I hope Kim can change that trend.

Vared Says:

Zola,I was being sarcastic. I don’t think Kimmie will even be a factor. As for Azarenka and Sharapova. We don’t have to wait for that as we have already heard eardrum destroying tennis matches between venus/serena and masha. Azarenka is more in league with dementeiva. wahh-hoo, wahh,hoo.

zola Says:

wahh-hoo…that was funny!

I can tolerate serna and even Sharapove to some extent. ( and Rafa grunts too!). This , I need some time. Strange that I watched her match with Serena in AO and did not notice it. Maybe heat reduces the shriek intensity! But anyway, she is an exciting player!

zola Says:

Monte Carlo draw is out:

Rafa has Hewitt, Del Potro, Davydenko/Murray?and then perhaps Djoko/Fed? Oh man!

hannah Says:

oh maria,
you better come back.

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