Maria Sharapova is a big name.
No matter what happened with the whole drugs test a few years back she is still a name people flock to see. Tournament directors will hand out wildcards like no tomorrow but if Sharapova wants a progressive return to a high level of women’s tennis maybe it is time to start declining them and scheduling better.
Sharapova hasn’t got a momentum of match wins under her belt so constantly accepting wildcards for the big events on the tour seems like a bizarre move to me.
Time and time again we have seen Maria go out in round one and has three wins in twelve months.
Accepting wildcards for big events is a quick way of potentially winning matches, getting some big points and climbing the rankings but none of those things are happening.
So, why not take a step down?
Why not go to ITF or International level and play a lower level tennis for now?
Sharapova wants to obviously keep going for a couple more years so why not take more of a build up route rather than looking for a quick fix?
We saw Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Hyeon Chung as just an example of players taking a step down after injury to build up that match rhythm and get some wins under their belt.
There is nothing wrong with doing it and I don’t understand why it hasn’t been explored.
I’m interested to see what does happen over the coming months. The schedule will probably be St Petersburg and then I imagine a small break before Indian Wells and Miami, maybe Acapulco too.
The question is… if not ITF events then why not go and play WTA 125k series? There’s the tournament at Indian Wells beginning of March, that would be perfect?
Bacsinszky, Peng Shuai, Flipkens, Blinkova and many others have won titles or gone to compete to gain more matches. Bianca Andreescu begun her year with a 125k last year and look what she went onto achieve.
Sharapova wants to win matches
Sharapova wants to climb the ranking
Sharapova wants to find an improved level
Why not take a step back to try and find that missing rhythm?
Scenario, if she goes to St Petersburg and Acapulco but wins one/two matches then goes out of Indian Wells in first round what’s the point?
It will be interesting to see what happens.. I honestly however don’t think getting back to a top 40 level is possible for Maria. The game has moved on and what she has put on the court hasn’t been close I’m afraid.