Maria Sharapova, once a 17-year-old underdog who conquered the All England Tennis Club to everyone’s surprise, will return to the Championships once again to attempt to relive that childhood glory 11 years ago. The Russian superstar will begin her campaign against Great Britain’s Johanna Konta, whom she has never faced previously on the professional tour.
The world No. 4 has not stepped out on court for a professional match since her fourth round loss o Lucie Safarova at the French Open last month. While she hoped to get some match time under her belt ahead of the fortnight on grass, it was an not possible due to her tight schedule.
“I was hoping I could play a warm up tournament leading up to this. But due to the circumstances, the way I was feeling, actually I had to go back home and do some tests, run through all that. It took a little while for me to really refresh and recover and, yeah, give myself just a chance to feel good again and get back to work.
“I planned on going to Florida. But then I needed to do a few things back in California for my health. Then just came here as soon as I got the green light to start the training. It’s been a really good 10 days. To finally have that energy, I think that’s quite important as an athlete. But, yeah, despite not playing an event, I’ve played a few practice matches, played a practice match in Eastbourne. It’s been going well so far.”
Sharapova will come up against Johanna Konta, who reached the quarter-final stage of Eastbourne last week. Now she will begin her campaign at the Championships with a contest on Centre Court against the 2004 champion.
This is set to be the first time that Sharapova and Konta meet on the professional tour and should be an easygoing match for the vastly more experienced Russian. However, an upset here would sent the English crowd into a frenzy, as it would undoubtedly be a huge upset so early in the tournament.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets