"..I love what I do. I still have a lot of passion for it," Maria Sharapova had said after her retirement from the opening round at Wimbledon due to a left forearm injury. She was trailing 6-4, 6-7, 0-5 in the first round with France's Pauline Parmentier.
Sharapova had gotten some medical assistance during the break but it wasn't enough for her to continue. She was down a set and 5 games so the journey to win would have been an uphill climb. It was 15 years ago that she had captured her title at Wimbledon but now things have changed.
Luck hasn't always been on Sharapova's side with injuries as she suffered a shoulder one nearly ten years ago at the China Open. The arthroscopic surgery kept her off the court for nearly 5 months and she was glad she was able to play again.
Since this new season began she had to retire from the Shenzhen Open against Aryna Sabalenka. Last season wasn't great either because after the U.S. Open she had to rehab her shoulder and was in pain with chronic left arm and thigh problems.
Wimbledon is a highly respected tournament for all the players and Sharapova says "It's very rare that I withdraw from a match in the middle of the match. That certainly means that it's painful." It became unbearable to even execute backhands with Parmentier.
Sharapova is now ranked no. 80 in the world and is fighting doubly to keep injury-free as well as getting wins over her competitive opponents. The incident at Wimbledon with Parmentier, Sharapova merely shook it off explaining that "I've had a history of a tendon in my left forearm flaring up."
Most are getting impatient with her chronic injuries and just want to see her healthy and playing again. She was asked when will she return to play competitively and she said "I don't know yet. It's kind of a tricky injury...I haven't really gotten a really good clarification from anyone that I've seen on what really causes it."
Maria Sharapova's trials and errors go on but the tennis community wonders if there will be a recurrence of injuries at every tournament. Can it be that the fans are getting the shaft on how long Sharapova will actually be able to keep up playing on the tour? Many are wondering if her injuries will be the culprit and she'll just give a meeting on her retirement date.
The final might be coming near but it hardly isn't the final of any tournament she's entered in quite a long time.