I pretty much said it as I saw it in my blog Maria Sharapova – From the eyes of the enemy!
Everyone knows my stance on Sharapova. I would be lying if I did some make-up blog now. It wouldn’t happen though. This is not to diminish her efforts. Five Grand Slams is by most peoples standards a great effort and one to be very proud of and rightly so. She won all four of the slams and would have no doubt added to that tally in a different era. She won many matches that she had no right to win on pure desire and heart at times. Something she became well-known for. Thankfully from my point of view, not too many that mattered to me.
The so-called ‘rivalry’ with Rena was a rivalry initially, one that Serena made very uncompetitive in the end though. So much so that it became more about the personality rivalry than the on-court one. It must have been a very demoralising feeling for Sharapova. When you think about it it was more one-sided than Federer v Roddick.
The ban? I don’t have much sympathy there, though I don’t pretend to know every detail of it. I do know as a big fan of Rena it has been something that has been ‘thrown’ our way in accusations for years, yet she has passed the tests. Like with most things, which side of the fence you are on here depends on your allegiances, but rules are rules at the end of the day. Sharapova has been a shadow of herself after returning from this and the shoulder injury has also taken its toll.
The truth is that right now, Serena is not walking to Grand Slam titles and Sharapova proved she was someway off her at the US Open last year. I remember leaving courtside from the Ashe Stadium thinking ‘how many more of these beatings can Sharapova take?’ I think I said in my blog at the time I was happy as a Williams fan to see a one-sided 6/1 6/1 win but it must ask questions. I haven’t read too much but this must have been one of the final straws in my mind amongst other results. Losing comfortably to Kerber and Barty in the second half of the season wouldn’t have helped. Maybe she is wishing she should have called time a while back on reflection. She has her finger in many business ventures outside of the game and realistically now is as good a time as any to retire.
Andy Del Potro