Maria Sharapova made an all-too-brief return to the WTA tour today at Indian Wells after a seven month injury layoff. She and Russian partner, Elena Vesnina, lost their first round doubles match: 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 to Ekaterina Makarova and Tatiana Poutchek.
The upcoming Miami tournament is likely NOT on her schedule, at least for singles play. Here are some remarks from Sharapova’s post match presser:
“The hump I have to get over now is to get through playing two of three set matches, seven or eight days in a row or two weeks in a row and feeling 100%. Now I can do that three or four days and have to take it easy on the fifth. That’s not the way to go about a tournament in singles. Whenever that comes, that’s when I’ll be playing singles.“
“I’m done with setting a timetable for myself. Those days are over.”
Right now she says she’s in the two steps forward one step back phase, which does not sound too promising for the immediate future. But Maria has a downright sunny outlook on it all:
“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be here again walking around. In the players’ lounge, I see some people who don’t look very happy and I’m thinking you are just so lucky to be here, you don’t know how fortunate you are just to be able to step on court and play. I looked at the doubles prize money and its pretty good. With so many people suffering, we’re very fortunate that this year that players are paid so much prize money. It’s just awesome.”
I don’t know what to make of this. It sounds like her attitude is exactly where it should be: hopefully optimistic. But that’s the troubling part – there’s still a level of hope in the comeback equation. Random rant: I think the media has been remarkably understated in its reaction to all this – imagine if Roger or Rafa was out for over half a year with injury and telling everyone that there was “no timetable” to his return? Perhaps Maria’s off court stardom makes people forget that she has a day job. But to the many of us who admire the grit and drama she brings to the tour, her absence from the big matches and big stages is becoming painfully obvious.
So what say you, Maria fans? Are you in panic mode yet or are you confident that Maria will return to top form eventually? I’m really starting to wonder. . .but maybe I’m transferring my hypochondriac fears onto Maria.
And did anyone catch her match?
Photo: REUTERS/Michael Fiala