Maria Sharapova is still officially hibernating, with few signs of awakening. Since 15 October 2017, when in the Tianjin final the Russian defeated Aryna Sabalenka and won her 36th career title, she reached the semi-final in Shenzhen and the third round at the Australian Open, before losing in the first round in Doha to Monica Niculescu.
Sharapova's inconsistency across matches is confusing. She led the Romanian by a set in Doha before losing the match in three sets. Again, at at the Australian Open, she began well but lost tamely to Angelique Kerber. The 2016 Australian Open champion gave a hard lesson to the Russian, who could only win four games in the two sets that were played.
Could clay swing reawaken Sharapova's performances? It could. Since 2012 onwards, the Russian has obtained the best results on this surface, despite her tennis being suited to faster surfaces. What has been missing in her form is her lethality and mental strength.
She needs to unlock her charisma and come out all guns blazing on the court. She needs to display her grit, aggression and her steely attitude on the court. For the sake of women's tennis, she needs to return to the peak of her mental fortitude so that everyone can remember what is Maria Sharapova's caliber as a player.
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