Sharapova wins easily, but for how long?

FROM THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN, Day 1: Maria Sharapova won today, very quickly, crushing Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0. That was a blow out, and the Russian/American played as well as she has over the past year, because she was injured, a lot. While she isn’t 100 percent, at least she can still crack the ball from both sides.

Her forehand and backhand are lethal, but her serve is spotty — more than spotty — because her right shoulder and arm are almost dead. She has tried to fix it for many years, but it hasn’t worked. I asked her whether it will get better this year, or will she fix it. She doubts that.

“That’s a good question. I have asked Dr. Altchek that many times,” Sharapova said. “I saw him beginning of December, and he says it’s a day-by-day pain management situation.”

She has won five Grand Slams, wonderful matches. Can she do it again? Right now, during the next two weeks, I would doubt that. It’s one thing to beat the mediocre players, but to take down the excellent players, she has to be spot-on. She could face AO champion Caro Wozniacki in the third round. Sharapova has to play extremely well to knock her off. She must be forceful, patient and creative. If she doesn’t, Wozniacki will gradually where her down.   

The 31-year old will not retire soon. For sure, she wants to play great tennis, and win some more events at the Slams, the Premier Mandatories, the little ones. As she says, even when she is ticked off, or tired, or frustrated, it doesn’t matter, because she walks on court to practice because she really loves it.

“That I still really have the passion for this. I enjoy it, seeing the effort that I’m able to put in, and I think that hard work will always ultimately come to the surface, not necessarily in maybe the specific, say, it’s tennis or something else. But I do feel that it’s really shaped the way that my career has been in and my life has been. If I put an effort into a certain category, sometimes it doesn’t come overnight, doesn’t come in a year, and sometimes it comes maybe in very unrelative things in your life, and I believe in that,” she said. “The way I handle my career today is the way I’ll handle my life in 10, 20 years, and that’s extremely important to me.”