Maria Sharapova: One Step at a Time, Not Yet Thinking of U.S. Open

By Jeff Harris, Posted: 07/18/17 09:38PM EDT

Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova may have been gone for almost two years, her WTA ranking has even dropped significantly, but as the saying goes, she's not out just yet. And with only the U.S. Open tournament left remaining among the majors, what are her options and chances of going back to the top?

Return to U.S. Open Tournament Not Priority

"I have to be realistic about the fact that I haven't played in a long time and even before the 15 months I was also injured, so it was almost like a two-year break for me where I didn't compete a lot," Sharapova said as posted by Los Angeles Times. "The importance and significance of every tournament is much more in my mind than what I can or not do at the U.S. Open."

After her 15-month suspension (from taking the banned substance meldonium) was lifted last April, Sharapova made her first appearance at the 2017 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Receiving one of the three wildcards, Sharapova reached the semifinals before losing to eventual runner-up Kristina Mladenovic.

Sharapova again received another wildcard at the Italian Open. However, she suffered another injury, retiring in the second round. This denied her a chance to play at Wimbledon. According to U.K.-based website Daily Mail, Sharapova will get another wildcard entry on the said Grand Slam tournament.

The tennis superstar is said to play again for the Orange County Breakers this coming July 24 at the World Team Tennis. Her team will play the San Diego Aviators. This is one way to catch the last trip to the U.S. Open in August. Another way is if she can get another wildcard entry. But for now, her main focus is the World Team Tennis.

Currently, Sharapova is No. 171 at the WTA Tour Rankings according to The 30-year old Russian tennis star has won the U.S. Open only once, in 2006. The following years were never kind to Sharapova as she battled with recurring shoulder injury, in addition to ankle and forearm injuries, though she managed to win the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open twice, in 2012 and 2014. Sharapova's first taste of a Grand Slam title was back in 2004, at Wimbledon.

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