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Sharapova shoulders fears for future

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Grunting Russian glamourpuss Maria Sharapova has, it feels, been around so long that if you didn't know her age off the top of your head you might guess that she was 25 or 26.

But you'd be wrong. She's 21.

The point is that Sharapova, who captured the world's attention by winning Wimbledon at the scary age of 17 in 2004, has withdrawn from the WTA Rogers Open with a shoulder injury which may prevent her from participating at the upcoming Olympics and the US Open in late August.

The same shoulder injury, it appears, that forced her (pictured) to withdraw from the relatively high-profile Miami Open in March and which impeded her shaky, faltering progress at the French Open.

The same shoulder injury which dogged her throughout 2007.

And the same shoulder injury - would it be unfair to ruminate? - which has prevented her from reflecting her position as the world's highest-paid female athlete out there where it matters on court.

That Sharapova is a fiery competitor who remains a class act is beyond question: she won the 2008 Australian Open through a characteristically potent blend of determination and skill.

Yet what the Groundhog Day withdrawal from yet another WTA tournament to prevent "aggravating" her shoulder injury further does do, is to cast real doubt over the longevity of her career.

Justine Henin quit at 25, Kim Clijsters much earlier than expected, and Sharapova herself vows to pack it all in by the time she is 30 when she hopes to be settled with "a nice husband and a few kids".

But the big question is: does she have another nine years left in her?

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posted Jul 31, 2008

Oops! Now with the 'n' there.

**Grunting Russian* glamourpuss**

Chris W you're writing for BBC Sport not the Sun!

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posted Jul 31, 2008

I adore Maria, she struggled through 2007 and now troubles in 2008? Im afraid this could be the end of Maria sadface

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comment by NFK (U12534714)

posted Jul 31, 2008

Many players retire early because of ailments, but these are generally stress injuries, in parts of the body that are integral to a particular style of play; such as counterpuncher's knee (from running around the baseline too much). However, from what I have heard about Maria's shoulder, it is little more than a niggling problem. If it became too much, then her swing could even be slightly altered to accomodate, similar to when Elena Dementieva changed her serve. I very much doubt, for these reasons, that Sharapova will ever be driven into early retirement because of her problematic shoulder...

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comment by cogent53 (U212222)

posted Aug 1, 2008

The shoulder problems are a worry for Sharapova fans. She is not a natural looking build - very long arms and legs, but less smoothly muscled than Venus. She often looks awkward when off balance. Those long levers are what give her power when she is playing well. Her Aussie Open performance was just stunning power tennis, as were her previous 2 slam wins, but she doesn't appear to be able to keep it up. There have been, what 2 years between each slam win? I think her career may well be full up ups and downs over the next few years due to these persistent shoulder problems. Has she had surgery? You do have to wonder if her brand of thumping tennis from a very young age is coming back to haunt her.

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posted Aug 2, 2008

Like a lot of others i find your demeaning comments about such a fantastic tennis player in very bad taste, publications like the Sun are always looking for your sort of talent, by the way how good a tennis player were/are you?

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comment by BPorte (U12826295)

posted Aug 2, 2008

If Sharapova is to survive on the court she needs to develop a better B game to fall back on. Her power displays are awsome and few can cope with her in full flow but power alone does not win grand slams. She has shown time and time again that when her skills levels drop, the power game falters.

She needs to adapt her serve and diversify because with all power players, once you figure out what she offers the greater the chance of picking her off down the lines. She needs to learn to be lighter on her feet. This injury offer a chance to go back to the drawing board and heal and develop the talent we know lies within. Consistency is the sign of a great player. In my opinion it is yet to be fully realised.

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posted Aug 2, 2008

though i am a huge fan of Maria, i think your comments are vey objective. Maybe a change of coach might help (just a thot).
Inspite of what's been said about about her 'limited game' she has won 3 Grand Slams, a lot more than the likes of Clijsters, Muaresmo, Pierce etc, ans she wil win a few more undoubtedly.
See how she ame back from last years injury, only the likes of the Williams sisters can cope with a fully fit Sharapova.
I wish her all the best and i hope she come back even stronger

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posted Aug 2, 2008

Apparently this isn't the same injury as before (which was to the pectoral muscle) this is due to torn tendons from back in March.

The fact her medical team haven't picked up on this since then is absolutely shocking to be honest.

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comment by Ben (U1647575)

posted Aug 2, 2008

It amazes me that Sharapova has won 3 out of the 4 slams to be honest.

She plays a game that is similar to the Williams sisters but not as good, she doesn't move great and doesn't serve as big....................... basically she plays the same game as Lindsay Davenport (before she got old), only she doesn't volley as well and now because of this injury her serve is less potent.

I really think she is going to struggle unless she can get her shoulder back to full health - She needs to be serving 65%+ at 115mph.

In 2007 she took three heavy beatings from the Williams sisters, I believe this was partly because her shoulder problems at the time causing her to serve badly - and without the serve working 100% she can not compete properly against them or the likes of Ivanovic.

Could be career ending IMO, she isn't as athletic as the other players and coming back from injury could be seriously problematic for her.

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posted Aug 2, 2008

Yes technically Maria is probably only top 10/5 player with maybe the credentials to win 1 slam. But do you know what sets her apart Ben? Her mentality. She is perhaps the biggest fighter on tour, and so mentally strong. Never does she give up a match or stop going for her shots. Never does she let a disappointing point, or game, or set affect her during a match. She will always look for a way to win no matter the circumstances and more often than not she finds it. This is why I feel she deserves so much respect, she's got grit, she's definitely got talent as well though-I still feel of her contemporaries she's the most likely slam winner if she sorts her shoulder out. She's also a lot more consistent on her groundstrokes than Venus is....

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