Sharapova wins on comeback
Originally published on 26/04/17 00:00
On the day her 15-month ban was lifted, the Russian won 7-5 6-3 after accepting a wildcard at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
"My job is as a competitor and as a tennis player to go out on the court and to perform no matter if I’m having a tough day or an easy day," said Sharapova, who tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. "There are people in the stands who bought a ticket and they are going to watch you play, and so you have to show them what you’re capable of doing."
Sharapova, whose original two-year suspension was reduced on appeal, faces fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the second round. She has also been granted wildcards for the WTA clay court events in Madrid and Rome next month, but must wait until May 16 to find out whether she will be offered a wildcard for Roland Garros, where she is a two-time champion.
"I trained quite intensively since January but it’s been in different phases,” said Sharapova. “I spent a lot of time in the gym and then I moved on to the court before I started playing matches in the last few weeks.
"So, it’s a process and of course you want to have that smooth transition. But nothing in training is like going out there today. I was definitely rusty. I made a few return unforced errors. I could name a lot of things. But overall I got through it and that’s the process I look forward to getting through."