Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2014 Jun 21, 2014 0:03:05 GMT
Post by Admin on Jun 21, 2014 0:03:05 GMT
It has been 10 years since Sharapova, as a hardly unlucky 13th seed, upset the former Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals and then the defending Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the final. “Don’t let that beautiful smile and those eyes fool you,” her occasional mentor Nick Bollettieri said of the Russian teenager at the time. “She’s as competitive as anybody in the world.”
That has been confirmed over the seasons, the comebacks and the tight matches, even if few of those have come against Williams, who has beaten Sharapova 16 times in 18 career matches. “I think the competition is a drug for Maria,” said Max Eisenbud, her longtime agent. “And when her career is over, it’s something that will be such a big void for her. At 4-all, 30-all in the third in the late rounds of a Grand Slam, it’s like her dream. For most people it’s their nightmare.”
Last year, after losing in the second round to the 131st-ranked Michelle Larcher de Brito, she soon found herself in a London clinic, undergoing platelet-rich plasma injections to try to address severe pain in her right shoulder. “The day after I lost,” Sharapova said. That round of treatment did not resolve the problem, and there would be plenty more treatments as she played just one more match the rest of the year. It is easy to forget that period of doubt at this happy stage. She has won 19 of her last 20 matches and she has just shrieked and battled through a series of tough three-setters to win her second French Open title.
“I’m very loose jointed, so if changes come — changes of weather, changes of balls — I am quite sensitive to that,” she said in a recent interview. “And I think everything just kind of piled on. Usually when that happens, we’ve been able to manage the pain, and I’ve played many matches since I’ve had surgery where I have some pain but been able to manage it. But it just got worse and worse.” No surgery would be required this time for her inflamed shoulder, just rest, rehabilitation and another long layoff, which she used to hire three new members of her team: The Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld, the German hitting coach Dieter Kindlmann and the French physiotherapist Jérôme Bianchi, who once helped keep Amélie Mauresmo healthy.
Those three men were locked in a celebratory embrace in the stands in Paris this month after Sharapova held off Simona Halep in the French Open final, and Sharapova soon joined them in the stands. “When we all got together and little by little started working together, I realized that there was really good energy,” she said. “It’s like everyone worked together, and this is such a huge piece of the puzzle as a professional athlete. You are the one competing, but the team atmosphere is so important.”