Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Maria Sharapova says she may have played the last Australian Open game

Maria Sharapova says she may have played the last Australian Open game

Before Brisbane, I had been out for nearly 4-1/2 months.

The Russian, who last lost in the Melbourne first round in 2010, has now slumped to opening defeats at three Grand Slam tournaments in a row. Her ranking is expected to fall to a career-low No. 366 after Tuesday's 6-3, 6-4 loss to the 19th-seed Donna Vekić.

Asked whether the prospect of not returning to the Australian Open has crossed her mind, Sharapova told reporters: "I don't know. I definitely have to take that into account". Just try to put myself in rhythm. "Obviously I wanted to finish yesterday".

Sharapova, 32, quickly fell behind 5-1 and ceded the first set.

"I can speak about my struggles and the things that I've gone through with my shoulder, but it's not really in my character to", she said. "Sharapova needs the big serve, shorten the point and find her rhythm in the service to win free points".

Jabeur said her goal this year is to make it into the top 20 - she's now 78th - and to inspire other African Arab players to pick up the sport. "But, I mean, there is no way to get out of [the current drought] except to keep believing in yourself because if you do all the right things and you don't believe in yourself, then that's probably a bad formula".

In the next round, the 27-year-old will play German world number 72 Laura Siegemund or American wild card Coco Vandeweghe, who is a former world number nine.

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World number two Karolina Pliskova raced through the first set before having to work hard in the second as she beat Kristina Mladenovic to reach the Australian Open second round. More injury troubles followed before the bombshell announcement of her positive test for the banned heart drug meldonium. She won a lower-level WTA title in Tianjin, China six months later. When she did play she lost as many matches as she won and was dumped out in the first rounds at Wimbledon and the US Open-and now Melbourne.

Since her return in 2017, she has advanced to the quarterfinals of a major just once (2018 French Open).

She won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon a year ago, and is seeded fourth in Australia.

Apart from being a renowned tennis star, Maria Sharapova is also a brilliant businesswoman.

The big question mark concerns whether Sharapova's shoulder will ever be in a condition to allow her to play a decent block of tournaments. "I haven't thought of my schedule moving forward from here yet". "I would like to".

It makes me motivated and charged, obviously, and it excites me, but so many handsome things have happened in all these years that I can only be grateful to the life and people who have helped me. "That's the name of this game", she said. There must come a time - perhaps even this week - when they must decide whether it's worth continuing.

Vekić advances to the second round against unseeded Alizé Cornet of France, which will be played Wednesday in Melbourne.

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