Wozniacki and Sharapova exchange words over scheduling…

Caroline Wozniacki has hit out at the USTA for their scheduling and she is spot on!

Last year Caro came into New York ranked outside the top 70 in the world but she fought hard and is now ranked 5 in the world and incredibly got pushed out on one of the outside courts 5th on court so Sharapova could play on Ashe…

Wozniacki said she thought it was unacceptable that the world number 5 was put 5th on court 5 after 11am. She went on to question the USTA’s decision to have all of Sharapova’s matches on centre which doesn’t send out the best message for a player returning from a drugs ban.

I’m totally with Wozniacki with the fact it doesn’t set a good example but the organisers have shown what is more important with scheduling and that is money.

Since Wozniacki’s comments Sharapova has hit back…

“Regards to scheduling, as you know I don’t make the schedule. And you know I’m a pretty big competitor and if you put me out in the parking lot at queens in New York City I’m happy to play there. That’s not what matters to me, all that matters is that I’m in the fourth round and I’m not sure where she is. (Wozniacki lost in R1)”

Ouch…

The debate will go on every tournament and I am with Wozniacki as it doesn’t send out the correct message and if anything has been welcomed back with open arms but at the same time Sharapova doesn’t have a say on where she plays.

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It’s on!

New York gave us a blockbuster to begin drawing up Simona Halep against Maria Sharapova and it’s amazing how expectations quickly change. Halep as the world number two was favourite against a Sharapova lacking a consistent run of matches but under the lights on Ashe the 2006 champion produced some of her best to seal the win and expectations quickly shifted.

From pressure being on Halep to talk about Maria becoming a contender at US Open and you could see how tight the former world number one was in her three match win against Timea Babos.

Sharapova wasn’t moving her feet, hitting double faults and failing to do the simples in rallies hitting unforced errors and just failing to find rhythm.

However with someone of her talents she just has to hang on in there and Timea in the second set became a little tight and once Sharapova edged ahead the spark seemed to have disappeared from the Hungarian’s game.

Big tests so far for the former champion but bigger tests will follow.

MS

All noise points towards a wildcard for Maria Sharapova at the US Open

The race to New York is on. At the end of the month Flushing Meadows will be ready for the final major of the year and one lady you can expect to be there is Maria Sharapova.

No official decision has been announced yet however all noise is pointing towards a wildcard in New York.

Sharapova was denied a wildcard to the main draw of qualifying at Roland Garros but at Wimbledon was giving one for qualifying but had to withdraw to due injury. A former champion at the US Open back in 2006 we can expect to see Maria compete.

Maria is currently taking part in the Bank of the West Classic down in Stanford this week and the US Open twitter account was very vocal about the Russian during her first round victory in Stanford.

After the match Sharapova said how she wanted to hug everyone at the match for making her return to the US one to remember which was then prompted with a reply from the US Open Twitter account which said…

“It seems like the feeling is mutual. Sharapova got a great reaction from the crowd after her match tonight”

I would be surprised if discussions haven’t been going on for a while and this would be (surely) communicated within all levels of the USTA/USOpen whether it’s directors or someone who runs the social media account. 

It would be a bit odd to be vocal and discussing support for Sharapova if she wasn’t to appear at Flushing Meadows.

Early signs suggest she will but we will have to wait and see.

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Maria Sharapova rightly denied Roland Garros wildcard but the reasoning is slightly hypocritical…

Maria Sharapova’s wait for a grand slam appearance goes on. The Russian has been denied a wildcard into the event, even qualifying by the FFT with the reasoning being as there cannot be a wildcard to welcome back from a drugs ban however it’s a bit hypocritical…

Last year French tennis player Lestienne was banned from the sport for 7 months and has only served half the ban. He was banned for being found guilty of betting on over 200 tennis matches but he has been given a wildcard…

oh dear!

I am in agreement with the decision not to reward Sharapova a wildcard as the wildcard system should be seen as a reward and does she deserve one? I’m also in disagreement with the decision to give Lestienne one as the system should be there as a reward…

I completely understand what Guidicelli says about the grounds on not giving one but you can’t have one rule for one and another for another, it’s quite hypocritical!

The WTA chairmen Steve Simon has also got involved to back up Sharapova saying she complied with the sanction given to her and I am surprised he voiced this opinion as the ATP and WTA have no say in majors.

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Bouchard 7-5 2-6 6-4 Sharapova – drama, tension, momentum and a shake of hands!

Eugenie Bouchard was the most vocal on the WTA tour about Sharapova’s ban and recently said she was no longer an idol of hers, was a cheater and shouldn’t be welcomed back into the sport with open arms. I wrote a piece saying Bouchard should do her talking on the tennis court and well she did!

After seeing off Alize Cornet in round one this set up a tie with the former world number one and tensions were high from the off.

With over 35 break points during the match the momentum swung time and time again as the two shared break after break testing each other with some brilliant tennis with both players playing some of their best tennis.

Once Sharapova had found herself 4-2 up in the set it looks a formalitly but lost 5 of the next 6 games as Bouchard responded incredibly something we haven’t seen for quite some time and then in set two after a couple of a nervy and long games getting the score to 2-2 suddenly Bouchard just won three points in the following four games as Sharapova closed it out.

The whole match felt like a Grand Slam final it was such a high level which led to both players looking more comfortable on the others serve with both struggling. Maria couldn’t get a first serve in and hit multiple doubles and as the third set went on you could sense the nerves with Bouchard trying to go big down the line on serve but on second serve had to play safe and hit a few 85-90mph serves which the Russian was all over.

The big talking point before the match was the handshake and well here it is…

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Bouchard was brutal but Sharapova is letting her tennis do the talking!

I’ve been quite vocal over the last few months about my views on Sharapova receiving wildcard after wildcard and I don’t think it is right. However let’s put ourselves in her shoes, if you’re offered it you would take it!

Eugenie Bouchard has hit the headlines once again this week and this time it’s to do with her brutal comments over Sharapova’s return to the tour saying she’s a cheater and shouldn’t be welcomed back with open arms and I do see where the Canadian is coming from.

The fact is rules were broken. Opinions will fly around and whether you think it was intentional or not is a matter of opinion the rules were broken at the end of the day!

I won’t give credit for the sake of giving credit but you have to praise Sharapova for the way she has returned. She hasn’t made a big song and dance she has just let it happen and taken it as another tournament and let her tennis do the talking.

Sharapova is experienced. She knows how to work the press and she fully understands people won’t agree with her return but she isn’t fazed at all. I do like to see players give their opinions but you make it and you move on and what Sharapova has done this week is let her tennis do the talking.

Maria has faced question after question this week about returning, the ban and fellow players comments but she’s kept her cards close to her chest. She isn’t bothered and her tennis is doing the talking and it will take time for fans worldwide to move on and she accepts that and some players might not but you can’t fault her work she has done these last few months to be ready for the tour again.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve heard comments from Radwanska and Bouchard about her return and I like to hear from a player’s perspective I think it is refreshing but at the same time focus on your own game, let your tennis do the talking!

I think they and others could learn an awful lot from Maria and how she goes about her business in press conferences and leading up to tournaments.

I don’t agree with the offer of wildcards to her as she was banned for breaking rules so I agree it does send out the wrong message but she isn’t fighting these comments she is letting her tennis do the talking and I think others should let there’s do it to.

mm

Maria Sharapova v Roberta Vinci Preview – Sharapova arrives in Stuttgart as she returns from drug ban!

Every year some of the top players on the WTA tour arrive in Stuttgart to kick off their clay court season. Previous winners include Kerber, Davenport, Clijsters, Hingis and a returning champion in Maria Sharapova who returns from suspension.

Just over a year ago Maria Sharapova announced she had been banned for testing positive for a prohibited substance but after plenty of debates and appeals she will return to the tour.

Due to Sharapova’s ban she doesn’t have a ranking meaning she relies on wildcards to play in tournaments but should she receive wildcards for testing positive on a banned substance? No, not for me!

Now let’s focus on the tennis. Maria has been training and first of all will be up against a tricky player in Roberta Vinci.

Roberta is never going to be a player who powers you off a court her game relies on being a little patient on the court and introducing that slice to keep the ball low and flat will stop Sharapova from generating too much pace and power.

If anything I wouldn’t say there is much expectations on Maria to go far in the tournament and it’s about match fitness for her.

With respect you have to your opponent’s weakness at times and Maria’s weakness will be lack of competitive tennis over the last 14/15 months so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roberta switching it up and throwing drops shots and variety.

I’m not expecting the tennis to be the talking point whatever happens in Stuttgart but the reception Sharapova will get will be interesting to say the least…

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