World No. 4 Maria Sharapova has been away from the WTA tour since her opening round loss to Sloane Stephens in Cincinnati; an event which took place over four months back. During her injury-ridden 2013 season, the Russian star sacked two coaches and settled for a third, Sven Groeneveld, who will coach her for the foreseeable future.
While their partnership may not have lasted long, Sharapova and Jimmy Connors parted on amicable terms, as the 26-year-old admitted that the issue was a matter of bad timing with the injury.
“Jimmy came in at the wrong time and in the wrong place,” she said. “I think when he came in post-Wimbledon, I don’t think any coach could have succeeded in the frame of mind I had at that time. Because I was going to practice, and I knew I couldn’t serve, and I knew that there was a good chance I might not play the U.S. Open. As an athlete, that’s tough to digest. I was not fun to be around, and it was a tough position for him.”
Sharapova managed to work through the injury when it began to trouble her in March, and even managed to reach the finals at Roland Garros, but the pain became insufferable during the hard-court season.
“I think when you have surgery on any part of your body, it’s never going to be the same,” Sharapova said. “I think for me, it was a lot of matches, and I’m very loose-jointed, so changes come, change of weather, change of balls, I am quite sensitive to that, and I think everything just kind of piled on.”
The former world no. 1 is scheduled to make her professional return at the Brisbane International on December 31.