Re: STUTTGART 2013: Aint no backseat in my Porsche!
The beginning of the most exciting part of Maria's season because of all of the points she has to defend. If she can do reasonably well in these 4 tournaments, maybe winning 1 or 2 of them, she'll pretty much have a lock on the number 2 ranking for 2013. Keeping Azarenka entrenched at number 3 for the year would be a considerable bonus and significant accomplishment. Since I believe Maria dislikes Vika more than anyone else, a chance to stay ahead of her is motivating.
Clay has never been close to a strength for Vika anyway, so factoring in her injury and lack of matches, this isn't a surface you can just show up on and expect to do well. Unless there's a shocking sudden proficiency from her on the dirt, she shouldn't be a contender until, at the very least, the French. So even if Maria stumbles in one of these events, Azarenka won't be taking advantage of that and picking up points on her.
So, for Maria, after the clay, opportunities really open up for her to gain points for much of the rest of the year and she can really solidify her position. Even though I'm not crazy about her playing Stuttgart again, it's very important as far as points, so I hope she comes in energized and focused.