Maria Sharapova is going into this year’s French Open trying to win her third title and her sixth Grand Slam. Is the rest of the field sleeping on her? Will pre-steroid Maria Sharapova come back to haunt the rest of the women’s draw?
The Ice Queen is back
This will be the first time Sharapova competes at Roland Garros since 2015 where she lost in the fourth round to Lucie Safarova in straight sets.
Sharapova missed the 2016 French Open due to being suspended for testing positive for the banned substance Meldonium. Then in 2017, the tournament did not grant Sharapova a wildcard, therefore Sharapova did not qualify.
She wants to put all that behind her and the only way to do that is to win matches and titles and it all starts with the French Open this year. It may seem unlikely to some but she has proven to be a major threat at Roland Garros.
In the three years prior to her 2015 4th round exit, Sharapova made it to the final of the French Open in 3 straight years. She won two out of the three by beating Sara Errani in 2012 and Simona Halep in 2014. The one loss came to longtime rival Serena Williams in 2013.
Sharapova has not been the same since the ban
Since Sharapova came back last year, she has not looked at her best, but on the clay swing, she has seemed to regain her top form of play. She played three clay tournaments and the results got better in each. She made it to the third round in Stuttgart before losing to world number seven Caroline Garcia. Then she made it to the quarter-finals in Madrid where she lost to eventual finalist Kiki Bertens. She then made it to the semi-finals in Italy and lost to world number one Simona Halep.
3.11hrs on court. Loved every bit of it. Thank you Roma for the ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3d3UfK8PBy
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) May 18, 2018
With that run in Italy, Sharapova has now regained a ranking back in the top 30. She will enter the French Open ranked 29th in the world and it will be the first grand slam tournament she is seeded in since the 2016 Australian Open. Seeding is important for Sharapova and she was very well aware of it.
“Of course, a seeding would be great. I want to put myself in that position. Winning matches will ultimately get me there,” Sharapova said. “I hope that I continue to raise my level and continue to perform and set myself in a better position. Of course I want to be seeded in a Grand Slam.”
Sharapova did not need to get herself stuck with the risk of drawing someone like Simona Halep in the first round. There are no given wins in tennis, but it would be better for Sharapova to get some matched in before she would have to face someone like a Simona Halep or a Caroline Wozniacki.
Old Sharapova could make a comeback this year
Sharapova has reunited with coach Thomas Hogstedt. She won her first french open title in 2012 with him. They reunited after her loss in Stuttgart and she has looked like a much better player.
Sharapova is always a threat and as the clay court season has progressed Sharapova has only gotten better and the only thing left to get up to is that third French Open Title.
- Dominic brings The Slice from Jackson, New Jersey, USA.