Maria Sharapova Fired Up For 2020 After Injury Misery - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sharapova Fired Up For 2020 After Injury Misery

Can the former world No.1 return to her best form?

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After a season marred by various injury setbacks, Maria Sharapova is hoping she will be able to turn her fortunes around in the new year.

A shoulder injury that required surgery has blighted the five-time grand slam champion throughout 2019. Her last match took place at the US Open, where she lost in the first round to Serena Williams. Overall, Sharapova has only been able to play in eight tournaments this year with her best result being a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Not to be too disheartened by her misfortunes, the 32-year-old is making her final preparations ahead of her latest comeback. It will get underway next week at the Brisbane International after she accepted a wild card to play. Sharapova won the tournament back in 2015 after defeating Ana Ivanovic in the final.

“It’s a fresh start after a tough last season,” Sharapova told Australian media on Tuesday.
“There were a lot of ups and downs. It (shoulder) has been about pain management that unfortunately in 2019 I wasn’t able to handle.
“But I have had a fairly good off season and I am motivated to compete.
“At this point in my career when I have that feeling, it’s a good sign.”

Currently ranked 133rd in the world, the Russian states that she has unfinished business on the tour. It has been almost six years since she won her last grand slam title at the French Open. Furthermore, Sharapova’s only title since returning from a 15-month doping suspension occurred in January 2017 at the Tianjin Open in China.

“To be fair when I was younger I never saw myself playing past 30,” she admits.
“(And) I don’t think my surgically repaired shoulder will ever be perfect.
“But I still feel there is a lot in me to give. I still have a lot of fire in me.
“As long as the shoulder stays healthy and my body allows me to I hope there is a lot of time left for me.”

It remains to be seen how much of a threat Sharapova can become in the future following her recent setbacks. Due to her ranking, she is hoping a strong run in Brisbane will further strengthen her case for a wild card into the Australian Open. A tournament she won back in 2008 at the age of 18.

The Brisbane International is set to feature a star-studded line-up with a total of 12 top 20 players on the entry list. The main draw will get underway on Monday the 6th January.

Sharapova in 2019

  • Shenzhen Open – quarter-finalist
  • Australian Open – fourth round
  • St. Petersburg Open – reached the second round before withdrawing
  • Mallorca Open – second round
  • Wimbledon – retired in the first round whilst trailing the final set 0-5
  • Canadian Open – first round
  • Cincinnati Open – second round
  • US Open – first round

https://twitter.com/BrisbaneTennis/status/1211727824421179392

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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