Playing in her first match after serving a 15-month doping ban, Maria Sharapova returned a winner Wednesday in Stuttgart. The Russian former No. 1 overcame a 2-0 first set start to defeat Roberta 7-5, 6-3.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Sharapova said.
“I don’t know what type of expectations I had,” she added. “I’ve been visualizing it and thinking about it, but I don’t know. I think I was very much in the moment today. I was really happy when I woke up this morning and I was smiling and I was excited about the opportunity of coming on site and practicing and then going and playing a match, something that I had for so many years in my career. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew that being out there was what I meant to be doing.”
The 36th-ranked Vinci, who wasn’t pleased Sharapova was awarded a wildcard into the event, credited her opponent in the end.
“I lost. She had a wildcard. She won. She’s happy, I’m so sad, but that’s it,” Vinci said. “I don’t want to think about the wildcard. I’m done.”
“She’s a great player,” Vinci went on. “I know she’s coming back after a long time but she’s coming back not after an injury. She practiced a lot at home and she really focused today, really aggressive. I tried my best but it was difficult, especially when I was on serve. She was always aggressive. That’s it. She played good and probably she deserved to win.”
And she said the global attention on the match was quite different.
“It was tough to focus before this match,” said Vinci. “Of course there was a lot of pressure. I see Facebook, Instagram, always put Sharapova-Vinci, first match. It was tough for me to stay focused. It was difficult to think about another thing to try to stay focused on my game.”
Sharapova finished with 11 aces, 3 double faults, 39 winners, 21 unforced and she held her last nine service games. She’ll move on to meet fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova tomorrow.
“I have been waiting for this a long time,” Sharapova said.
You Might Like:
Maria Sharapova Reportedly Won’t Get A French Open Main Draw Wildcard
World Anti-Doping Agency Lays Groundwork for Reinstating Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova Takes The Blame For Failed Drug Test, Will She Also Take The Fall?
Appeal Delayed! Maria Sharapova Won’t Be At The Olympics Or The US Open
Dominika Cibulkova: I Don’t Feel Sorry For Maria Sharapova, I Won’t Miss Her, She’s Arrogant, Concieted And Cold