Sharapova enters her first U.S. match after a 15-month ban

Sharapova enters her first U.S. match after a 15-month ban

"I think no road is easy."

This is Maria Sharapova's realistic response as she works on regaining her winning form with a World Team Tennis match following the 15-month drug ban.

Sharapova suited up for the Orange County Breakers as they face the defending champions San Diego Aviators in the season-opening match, which was her first US battle since testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

A CTV News article reports that her comeback began two months ago by playing three tournaments in Europe. In the first event, she reached the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semifinals, yet a thigh injury hindered her comeback trail. But now, she is fit and ready, hoping that all her preparation will culminate with her U.S. match.

"It's nice to have a schedule again and something that I really miss, having a tournament on the schedule and a calendar and knowing what I have to prepare for," Sharapova said.

She also added that she received no beneficial treatment when she served her 15-month suspension, which was originally set for two years.

Ken Macdonald, a spectator, believes that the five-time Grand Slam champion deserves a second chance.

Sharapova relayed that her schedule leading to the U.S. Open will feature another World Team Tennis [WTT] appearance and WTA Tour stops at Stanford and Toronto but refused to determine how she would fare at the US Open.

"It's not something that I think about; it's not part of my job. Just because I have to be realistic that I haven't played in a long time. With the injury, it was almost like a two-year break for me. The importance and significance of every tournament is much more in my mind than what I can or cannot do at the US Open," she said.

 

photo by: Dusdin/ Wikimedia Commons