Sharapova : Regaining the lost touch ?
As Sharapova is en route to a potential quarter final clash with Sarena Williams at Bank of the West Classic, she’s an automatic favorite to win the clash, a sign that she’s back to where she belonged to. Former World No 1 and three time Grand Slam champion had a ten month layoff from the game in 2008 which saw her drop to as low as 126 in WTA Rankings.Since her comeback Sharapova has won 4 singles titles and improved her ranking to within the top 5,ironically the same ranking held when she had to take a break.
The year 2011 has been one of the best in her career, a French Open semi-final against Li Na; a Wimbledon final where she lost to Petra Kvitová. However even though she missed on adding to her Grand Slam tally, these outings proved to be very significant to her rise.She had the best clay court season of her career which included a remarkable tournament win at Internazionali BNL d’Italia.The French semi loss was primarily due to the strong winds, as she ended up making a myriad of unforced errors and double faults.In the Wimbledon ,she had not dropped a set in the tournament entering the final where the emotions got better of her.
Earlier this year Sharapova decided to take a break from Joyce’s coaching, despite working with him for years and a successful period in which she became a triple Grand slam champion.She hired Thomas Hogstedt from Sweden to coach her and since then she has been adding new dimensions to her game. She has been much more consistent with her serves, reducing the number of double faults, serving 70–80% of first serves in and placing the serves out wide.She ha been moving pretty well,this year in March she overcame an ankle injury to defeat Alexandra Dulgheru in the quarter-finals in an match that lasted 3 hours and 28 minutes,an indication of her stamina and a strong will.
She seems pretty confident and also willing to improve, a resounding feature of a great player.Recently she was quoted saying “Little by little, I’ve taken small steps and I’ve improved little things in my game.I don’t think that you can ever just sit down and say every part of your game is perfect,” she said. “I always feel that you can improve. Even if it is just a few percent. Even if it is just one step quicker.” No wonders ever she got engaged to basketballer Sasha Vujacic last winter, she has a happier personal space and something she acknowledges.
It’s often said that “Behind Every successful man,there’s a woman”, however here in her case,the tide seems reverse,Vujacic has brought her luck as well as happiness and calm.As a hardcore tennis lover, I would like her to excel both off and on the field .Hope we get to see her heroics on the court in the upcoming US Open and may she go a step ahead than her Wimbledon performance.