May 19, 2009

Maria Sharapova survives comeback match in Warsaw

Maria Sharapova comeback performance was slightly rusty last night, but we're not complaining.

Wearing criss-crossed strips of white tape on her right shoulder, Sharapova played her first singles match at the Warsaw Open in nearly 10 months and still managed to pull off a win.

The three-time Grand Slam title winner needed nine match points (!) to finally put away 68th-ranked Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-3.

“When you haven’t been there, haven’t done that in a while, it throws you off a little bit,” said Sharapova, whose last competitive singles match was July 30, “and then there you are after nine months, and you have an opportunity to win your first match back, and you start thinking of everything that’s gone on, and you kind of lose the present time.”
The Russian had surgery for a torn rotator cuff last year and missed last year's Wimbledon and US Open as well as the Australian Open earlier this year.

Sharapova who is currently ranked at 126th, refused to discuss the French Open, which starts Sunday—and is the only major championship she hasn’t won.

“I’ve been absent for so long, and I’ve said it many times: You can do so many things, you can practice and you can play practice matches, but it’s never the same as going out and playing in a tournament, and I think that’s what I’ll need,” she said.

“I’ve played millions of matches in my career, and I’ll play millions more, and I think right now it’s just going to be getting that experience back and the thought process on the court and doing the right things to finish the match.”

“I was definitely a little bit nervous closing that second set out."

“I certainly had desire to win my first match back."

“I’m hungry. I haven’t played for a while, and I want it really bad, and sometimes I actually have to stop myself at times and tell myself to be patient.”

“In these nine months, the only thing I’ve accomplished is probably a good pasta carbonara."

“At the end of the day, that’s not my specialty. My specialty is to go out and compete and win Grand Slams.”
(Via AP, Images by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)

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