Maria Sharapova: Four Times a Champion?

Written By: achangeofends - Oct• 18•10

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article for TennisGrandstand about which current players I believe will win more Grand Slams. Maria Sharapova is a three time Grand Slam winner, having won Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006, and the Australian Open in 2008. Plus, she’s only 23. She’s for sure going to win again, right? You may be surprised that I said she won’t win another major. Frankly, even I was a little surprised at my choice. A month ago, I was convinced that Maria was going to be the 2010 US Open champ. What went so wrong in a month that caused this crazy change in opinion? (Photo by Reuters)

Well, she lost and then she kept losing. That’s what happened. 2010 was supposed to be her big year back and yet it’s been one disappointment after another. Rationally, I know Maria has plenty of time to win another major considering how young she is. 2008 wasn’t that long ago and she didn’t suffer from an unexplainable fall from grace like Ana Ivanovic, but was forced not to play due to a shoulder injury. However, she’s neither as confident nor as healthy as she was in her winning years. Her shoulder is a continuing concern and has wreaked havoc on her serve. More importantly, she’s not beating top players, players she almost certainly would’ve beaten two or three years ago. Confidence is a huge part of tennis and the longer Maria goes on losing, the worse she’s going to feel. She’s already out for the rest of the season with no real explanation.

To be clear, I don’t think Maria is any less talented than she was in 2008, which means she has the technical abilities to win another Slam, provided her shoulder stays healthy. At the moment, her serve is still more of a liability than a weapon and the rest of her game isn’t spectacular enough to make up for that shortcoming. So, she fixes her serve and goes back to winning, right? Wrong. I think the psychological effects of the last two years have really taken their toll. The reason I don’t think Maria will win another Grand Slam is her mental game. I’m afraid she can’t keep it together through the important matches anymore, and that’s a lot harder to fix than a faulty serve.

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