Maria Sharapova defeated Tathiana Garbin at the Warsaw Open in her first match after a nine-month lay-off due to a shoulder injury.
The 22-year-old beat the Italian comfortably 6-1 6-7 (6-8) 6-3, and will be hoping to play as much as possible prior to the French Open which gets underway on 24 May.
The former world number one fell to 126 in the world during her time out of action, but showed little signs of her injury against Garbin. Indeed, the only visible reminder was the bandage on her shoulder.
The Russian had been out of action since April due to a shoulder injury. A torn rotator cuff was to blame and the 22-year-old was forced to miss the Beijing Olympics as well as the US Open. But despite her absence, she is still reportedly the highest earner in women’s tennis.
Sharapova described her time away from the sport as ‘pretty difficult’, but says she is now raring to go and make her way back up in the rankings.
“I certainly had desire to win my first match back,” she said. “I’m hungry, I haven’t played for a while and I want it really bad and sometimes I actually have to stop myself at times and tell myself to be patient.
“Although these nine months have been pretty difficult, I’ve definitely had to test out my patience.
“In these nine months the only thing I’ve accomplished is probably a good pasta carbonara. At the end of the day that’s not my specialty, my specialty is to go out and compete and win Grand Slams.”
With the start of Roland Garros just days away, Sharapova will be relishing the opportunity of competing for a Grand Slam again, and will look to go further than last year, where she was knocked out by Dinara Safina in the fourth round. She has never been past the semifinals at the French Open.
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BIOGRAPHY: Unai Emery
BIOGRAPHY: Adam Lallana