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Old Aug 24th, 2010, 11:56 PM   #151
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

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Sharapova's Long Scrap Back
Two Years After Shoulder Surgery, Questions Remain About Her Serve—and Her Toughness


By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN
AND TOM PERROTTA

Maria Sharapova is one of the hardest workers on the women's tennis tour.
She beats balls across nets and labors through agility training for hours on end. Those who know her and have coached her say unlike a lot of pros, she actually seems to enjoy playing tennis.

She was such a precocious talent and has been so prolifically photographed in glamorous advertising campaigns it's easy to forget that she's only 23, that she won three Grand Slam titles before attaining legal drinking age and has reached No. 1 on four different occasions—most recently in May, 2008, after she took the Australian Open without dropping a set.

As the U.S. Open approaches, Ms. Sharapova is still trying to fully regain the form she lost that same year after undergoing shoulder surgery, a procedure that sapped much of the bite from her lethal serve.

Last year, as she double-faulted her way across the globe while using an abbreviated service motion, the sport's chattering classes were willing to give her an injury pass. But this year, after she bowed out in the first round at the Australian, suffered an elbow injury, then was ingloriously bounced in the third round at the French and the fourth round at Wimbledon, there's a big question hanging in the air: Will Maria Sharapova ever be one of the world's great tennis players again?

So far this season, Ms. Sharapova has two tournament wins, both at small events where she didn't play anyone who was ranked higher than No. 49. At the tour stop in Cincinnati two weeks ago, she showed flashes of her old form, making it to the final against Kim Clijsters, the defending U.S. Open champion.

Then Ms. Sharapova blew three match points. Then the rain came. When the players returned to the court more than an hour later, Ms. Clijsters ran Ms. Sharapova ragged, ultimately prevailing in three sets.

Ms. Sharapova injured her heel and had to withdraw from this week's tour stop in Montreal. She is expected to be fit for the U.S. Open.

Robert Lansdorp, the California coach who fine-tuned Ms. Sharapova's strokes when she was a girl, watched his former pupil's collapse on television. "When I saw her play the first set I said, 'this girl could win the U.S. Open,'" he said. "I was disappointed that she let it go. She has been doing that the last year. She used to be tough all the way through, that's why she was number one."

After undergoing rotator cuff surgery in October 2008, Ms. Sharapova spent more than six months on the sidelines and dropped to No. 126 in the world. When she came back, she was forced to shorten her service motion to compensate for the weakness in her shoulder—which led to a torrent of double faults. "To go from something that you've done all your life, which is pretty loose and flowy, to something really short, it took a while," she said at a press conference before a tournament in Stanford, Calif. last month. "It was just really inconvenient."

Finally in the fall of 2009, her shoulder was strong enough for her to drop the truncated motion for her old form, where her racket head grazes the ground before whipping around in a full loop. Still, her serve seems a work in progress. Ms. Sharapova barely cracks the top 10 on the women's tour in total aces and isn't in the top 10 in break points saved, first-serve percentage or the percentage of points won on her second serve.

Mr. Lansdorp has a theory about this: "She's tossing the ball too frickin' high," he said. "It looks like she wants to play tennis with Jesus. Her elbow is not up early enough."

With a weakened serve, opponents can exploit the 6-foot-2 Ms. Sharapova's limited mobility, especially on fast courts. "When you're that tall, unless you're super-athletic, if you don't have that weapon in the serve like you had before, you're not going to have all those free points that you need," said Nick Bollettieri, her former coach. "Once the ball is in play five, six, or seven times, the tide begins to go against her." Ms. Sharapova declined to be interviewed for this story.

"There are not a lot of players who come back from shoulder surgery," said Max Eisenbud, an agent at IMG worldwide who has worked with Ms. Sharapova since she was a child. "Here's a woman who could be sitting on the beach but instead she's working her tail off."

Mary Carillo, the longtime tennis analyst, said Ms. Sharapova is still one of the favorites at the Open, but she will never be a player who can grind out victories against better opponents when she and her serve aren't at their best.

And until her ranking improves—she's currently ranked 16th—she won't be seeded high enough to avoid top players before the late rounds.

"Only Serena is ahead of her in terms of willpower," Ms. Carillo said. "You look at the competition. Serena has been laid off, Venus hasn't won anything off grass in years. How can you not take seriously someone like Maria? Yet the court is very fast at the U.S. Open, and that may not be a great thing for her."

Mr. Lansdorp agreed that Ms. Sharapova could win another Grand Slam title, or more. "She has to get that old self back," he said. "Sometimes, she's unbeatable."
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #152
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

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She used to be tough all the way through, that's why she was number one.
I want that Masha back
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #153
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

The Jesus thing was hilarious!

And yeah sometimes she is unbeatable.Maria win USO!
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 12:29 AM   #154
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Lansdorp's remarks seem calculated to catch Maria's attention with the message "demote (or dump) Mike, and hire me, Maria".
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 06:24 AM   #155
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

I actually agree with Landsdorp that her ball toss is a mess at times and cost her plenty of important matches so far. Joyce better do his thang and employ the most effective tossing technique for her, because these close loses are getting damn annoying and US Open is no place for experiments
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 11:08 AM   #156
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2


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Maria Sharapova helped the Serbian church in California
Was it because of love for the Slovenian basketball player of Serbian origin, Alexander Sasha Vujacic or religious solidarity, Maria Sharapova has recently generously helped SPC (Serbian Orthodox Church), California. Beautiful Russian donated tennis rackets with her autograph, which were then sold for $ 4,000 at auction, exclusively in the latest issue written show "Arena 92".
Beauty from the tennis courts is in contact with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Orange County California district came over boyfriend, basketball LA Lakers Sasha Vujacic, who for years engaged in humanitarian work within the Serbian diaspora in the U.S.. For this gesture, the Russian picked up the sympathy of our people in California, and soon they could become more like, given the fact that the information appeared to be the famous couple engaged. A big wedding would therefore easily could happen just in one of the temples of Theology in California, where Maria and Sasha now live!
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #157
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Whoa I didn't know She-she's real name was Aleksander. Thats wayyyy cooler. He just got some points with me.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #158
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Aleksandar >>>>>>> Sasha.

I'm going to call him that from now on. Alex.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 02:24 PM   #159
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he's Serb? Serbian church? okay this changes things, hai Sasha
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #160
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Well he is not Serb Serb lol
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 04:01 PM   #161
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Originally Posted by milotimasha View Post
Well he is not Serb Serb lol
Well I got that lol.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #162
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

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Originally Posted by Jovana. View Post
he's Serb? Serbian church? okay this changes things, hai Sasha
He was born in Slovenia have Slo passport but have Serbian origin
Few years ago Sasha wanted to play for Serbian pro team but there was a problem because he played for Slovenian national juniors team and there is rule that about that. he had administrative problem

His father Vaso Vujačić is a Serbian basketball coach.
If you look at his site he is helping Serbian Orthodox Church all around the world and it's not the 1st time that Sharapova took participation in helping SOC
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #163
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

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Originally Posted by Jovana. View Post
he's Serb? Serbian church? okay this changes things, hai Sasha
I thought you kinda disliked ivanovic and she's serbian
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 04:47 PM   #164
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I thought you kinda disliked ivanovic and she's serbian
my dislike towards her turned to "not giving a shit" over the years and I am merely happy that Maria is dating a Serbian origin dude
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Old Aug 26th, 2010, 12:20 PM   #165
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Sharapova feels recent success can extend to U.
Thu, 26 Aug 05:48:00 2010

Maria Sharapova, who has shot back up the rankings after a shoulder injury that almost ended her career, feels she is hitting her stride and has a chance to capture her second U.S. Open title in four years.

After suffering a shoulder injury in 2008 that required surgery, the three-time grand slam winner spent several months on the sidelines and dropped as far as 126th in the rankings.
But Sharapova is now ranked 16th in the world heading into the Aug. 30-Sept. 12 tournament and said reaching the finals of two straight tournaments in recent weeks has convinced her she can snap a grand slam drought nearing three years.

"I feel like I'm getting there," Sharapova, who pulled out of the WTA tournament in Montreal last week with a heel injury, told Reuters.
"I've had great successful memories in New York as well as tough ones. Having to miss it two years ago because of my shoulder and then coming back last year with pressure ... well that wasn't easy."
Sharapova has not won a grand slam title since she triumphed at the Australian Open in 2008. Eight months after the victory, the 23-year-old had right shoulder surgery and was slow to find the form that once vaulted her to the number one ranking.

She lost in the August finals to Victoria Azarenka at the Stanford Classic and to defending U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters at the Cincinnati Open but is heartened by recent victories over top players.
Until late July, Sharapova had not beaten a player this season ranked in the top 25, but in the past month has toppled world number six Elena Dementieva and two-time grand slam victor Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Sharapova is counting on her recent form to help erase the memories from last year's U.S. Open where she struggled with a reconstructed service motion and was upset by U.S. teenager Melanie Oudin in the third round.
She has done away with her abbreviated service motion and has been serving at pre-surgery speeds during recent tournaments where she has shown glimpses of her former self.

While Sharapova said Wimbledon is her favourite tournament, she is is looking forward to returning to the bright lights of New York for the U.S. Open, which she won in 2006.
"In New York it's all about the buzz, the craziness, the rivalries and the night matches," Sharapova said. "It's exhilarating. I want to perform my best at the Open and peak there."
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