Daily US Times, Melbourne: This is the consecutive third time in a grand slam, once champion star Maria Sharapova has fallen to a first-round defeat. The latest Australian open defeat raises serious questions about her future.
Sharapova, the former world No. 1 was granted wildcard entry to the Australian Open but went down 6-3 6-4 to Croatia’s Donna Vekic off the back of an injury-ravaged 2019.
She is out of 350 in the latest ranking published after the tournament. It is not sure whether she would play in Melbourne again.
Sharapova won her last Australian open in 2008. She said after this year’s exit “It’s tough for me to tell what’s going to happen in 12 months’ time, “I was fortunate to get myself to be here and thankful to (Tennis Australia boss) Craig (Tiley) and the team for allowing me to be part of this event.”
The upset Sharapova said after the match she is not sure whether she is ‘on the right track’. but adding ”there is no way to get out of it 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.”
The Russian star hasn’t won back-to-back matches since last year’s Australian Open, where she reached the fourth round.
She retired in the first round at Wimbledon after suffering a forearm injury. She had to withdraw herself from the French Open due to a shoulder injury.
At the US Open last year, she bettered with Serena Williams, her long-time rival in the first round and fell to a year-end ranking of 136, her lowest since 2002.
She did best in the last two years at the French Open quarterfinals in 2018, where she fell to Garbine Muguruza.
Critics and experts are now speculating that this is how Maria Sharapova has fallen from her grace.