Returning Sharapova inspired by ‘ultimate fighter’ Nadal

Ruben Hill
June 19, 2019

She said that she commended Nadal for battling through his injuries, calling him the ultimate fighter. The five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova will start her Mallorca Open run Tuesday after she accepted a wildcard.

Most of all, however, she is excited to return with her passion for the sport intact after so many injury setbacks and also missing 15 months because of a doping ban.

"I do not feel pressure positioning myself in my comeback, I know that there are also some young talented players in the top and there is a good opportunity for them to write new stories", she explained.

Her pursuit of regaining arguably the most prestigious Grand Slam tournament in tennis in the English capital next month was buoyed, she said, by Nadal's own injuries and subsequent victory in last week's French Open. "My shoulder has been troublesome for a majority of my career", she said. "The injuries are very frustrating.But then the next day, you start feeling better", Sharapova added. "You can heal all you want but when you get back to your sport it's a different ball game".

Sharapova admits that most won't "give her a shot" but Wimbledon is a tournament which so often rewards underdogs - though she admits that any chance she has is dependent on her shoulder holding up.

"Before it was about pain management, I wasn't really enjoying playing because after every match I was thinking about what I needed to do to help my shoulder", she said. "Every match is going to be a really good test".

Asked why she selected Mallorca for her return, she looked up to the blue skies.

"Mallorca Open is a great place to train because the weather conditions are better than England to practice", she explained. "You have to stay in shape and when you're playing tennis it's relatively easier".

Though a former Wimbledon champion, she's realistic about her expectations given she's played just one grass-court match since 2015.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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