Sharapova rehab on track
Phoenix, 13 September 2008
If all goes well, and reports are that her rehabilitation is right on schedule, Maria Sharapova will re-emerge on the women's tennis trail the second week in January at an exhibition event in Hong Kong, then move directly on to defend her title at the Australian Open.
Sharapova has been in Phoenix for the last month and will continue there with well-known fitness trainer Brett Fischer, who is working to strengthen the area around the torn rotator cuff in her right shoulder.
No surgery is indicated and Sharapova's doctors are describing the tear as "very moderate". She hasn't been on court since she retired from a second-round match with Ai Sugiyama at the Canadian Open in early August.
"She's just very relieved that the problem has finally been diagnosed," said her agent, Max Eisenbud.
Doctors have traced the original rotator cuff tear back to a match against Tatiana Golovin in 2006, when she hit an ace up the T that resulted in the slightest of tears, and from there it slowly worsened until significantly more damage was done at Indian Wells this year in a match against Alona Bondarenko. Incredibly, the problem went undiagnosed for months.
Sharapova continued trying to play, but she was unconsciously changing the location of her service toss in order to not feel any pain. "The first serve wasn't too bad because she throws the ball more out in front," said Eisenbud. "But on the second serve, she couldn't get her arm close to her head. Basically, they were saying they see the same thing with baseball pitchers who tear rotator cuffs. They unconscioulsy change their mechanics to avoid the pain."
At the French Open, Sharapova had 43 double faults in four matches, 17 in a first-round win over Evgenia Rodina.
"Missing the U.S. Open and the Olympics was really tough for her," said Eisenbud. But she's resolved not to try to work through the pain. She's not coming back until the problem is corrected.
I personally can't WAIT!!!!