Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova retired from her career in 2020, just before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Maria began to develop her business and build a personal life with British millionaire Alexander Gilkes, with whom she gave birth to a son, Theodore, in the summer of 2022. Sharapova also regularly attends various exhibitions and shows and speaks at forums in defense of women’s rights.
Recently, the usual picture of Maria’s life has changed somewhat. Sharapova is increasingly appearing in media news directly related to tennis.
For example, a visit to the Toronto Masters, a frequent presence in the stands of the last US Open, a vivid statement about the inequality in prize money between ATP and WTA players.
Sharapova had a great time at the US Open. Will María really return to the field?
In addition, Maria shows her subscribers on social networks that she is actively training and dieting.
“I’m getting back to a regular training program. A strong body means a strong mind,” Sharapova captioned one of her latest videos.
It is normal for a person to follow a healthy lifestyle. However, there are reasons to believe that Maria’s goal is not only the desire to stay in excellent physical shape.
Australian tennis player Daria Saville (Gavrilova) believes that Sharapova seriously plans to resume her career. She came to this conclusion after watching Maria’s training cycle, which includes lunges, bent-over rows and other exercises with dumbbells, twists and the like.
“I foresee another return. No one exercises like this just to “feel good,” Saville wrote.
Maria Sharapova has been actively training lately
Photo: from the personal archive of Maria Sharapova.
Is there any truth in Saville’s words? Very possible. Sharapova actually trains very actively and does a series of very unusual exercises, as noted by Saville. Something similar happened when María was preparing to return to the court after a 15-month ban for using meldonium. Of course, now the situation is completely different, the comeback is far from a solved problem and, in general, its probability should still be assessed clearly below 50%. However, it is clearly not zero.
First, Maria needs to marry Gilkes. In December 2020, the couple announced their engagement. The matter of the wedding has not yet come to pass, despite active speculation in the media about it. However, there is progress in this direction. People magazine reported a couple of weeks ago that Sharapova and Gilkes were preparing to walk down the aisle. Details regarding the date and location of the ceremony have yet to be announced, but it is stated that it will happen in the foreseeable future. After solving the wedding problem, she will be able to fully concentrate on resuming her career.
Sharapova is now 36 years old. A respectable athletic age, but not one at which one permanently abandons tennis. Serena Williams was the same age when she returned to the court in the spring of 2018 after the birth of her first daughter, Alexis Olympia. The birth was difficult, with a cesarean section. Williams did not win a single Grand Slam tournament until the end of her career in the fall of 2022, but she performed quite competitively and several times she came very close to winning her 24th major and repeating the record of Margaret Court.
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Recently, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki returned to football after giving birth to a boy and a 3.5-year break. She immediately showed a decent result. At the US Open 2023 she reached the round of 16, where she lost to future champion Cori Gauff in three sets (3:6, 6:3, 1:6). It is likely that Carolina could have gone a little further if the net had been simpler. She is now the 237th racket in the world, but at the same time she is definitely capable of creating problems for the representatives of the top 20 of the WTA ranking. The result in the first TBS after the break was simply excellent. It will be interesting how Wozniacki performs at the 2024 Australian Open, which she plans to deliberately prepare for in the coming months.
You can also remember the former world third racket Elina Svitolina, who missed about a year on maternity leave. Elina made a triumphant return, reaching the quarter-finals of Roland Garros and the semi-finals of Wimbledon. Of course, comparing her to Sharapova is not entirely correct. Svitolina initially planned a comeback. She is only 29 years old and does not think about leaving tennis. However, Elina proves that it is possible to immediately return and act with dignity after a long hiatus due to the birth of a child.
Still, Wozniacki is better able to draw analogies with Sharapova. Caroline is three years younger than Maria. This is important, but not critical. Again, Serena returned at age 36 and participated in the TBS finale four times. And this was after a difficult birth.
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Women’s tennis is going through difficult times right now. There is no obvious dominant force. Iga Swiatek slowed down and lost her status as the world’s top racket. Aryna Sabalenka seems to be playing well, but often stumbles in decisive matches and has only one victory in a Major so far. Elena Rybakina, after her sensational success at Wimbledon 2022, also did not win a second TBS Cup. Gauff won her first Slam at the US Open. It is not at all certain that her collection will be replenished in the near future with another trophy of this level. The fourth-ranked racket in the world, Jessica Pegula, never reached the semifinals of the majors.
Serena recently gave birth to her second child. You will almost certainly not be able to see her on the court again in an official match, but if the American suddenly gathered herself and started training, she could now play something like Wozniacki. Not to qualify for the “Helmets”, but also not to disgrace yourself by constantly losing in the first rounds of big tournaments. Why is Sharapova worse? In 2020 María left due to shoulder problems and simply because she was tired of tennis. But health problems can pass and nostalgia for her favorite sport can return. Sharapova is training hard and has not commented on speculation about her possible return to the court. Are there really any surprises in store for tennis fans? Most fans will welcome the resumption of her career. Or not? We invite you to take the survey.
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