We already knew that Sharapova getting back the spotlight and number 1 ranking was a WTA's dream coming true, but it is also interesting to see the behind the scenes maneuvers and political clout that must have other girls mad or jealous...
"Maria Sharapova’s success is good for tennis
Stephanie Myles, Postmedia News Jun 9, 2012 – 7:35 AM ET
PARIS — Maria Sharapova’s semi-final win over Petra Kvitova at the French Open on Thursday assured she will be the new No. 1-ranked player on the WTA Tour when the updated list is issued Monday.
It is a tremendous thing for women’s tennis, and don’t think the WTA isn’t fully aware of it. Tour CEO Stacey Allaster even made an appearance before Sharapova’s news conference as the new queen received a big bouquet of flowers and a crystal vase to mark the occasion.
It was a big fuss — one that wasn’t really made when Victoria Azarenka became No. 1, or Jelena Jankovic, or Ana Ivanovic, or Dinara Safina, or . . . well, you get the idea.
Some of it is logistics; this happened at a major event. Much of it is the acknowledgment that wherever Sharapova has been ranked in recent years while coming back from shoulder surgery, she and Serena Williams will be the queens of the game as long as they play.
They have an “it” factor, a marketability and renown that transcends tennis into the mainstream. They have familiarity. They have sterling resumes.
Caroline Wozniacki held the top spot for 67 weeks, Safina 26 weeks, Azarenka 19 weeks and Jankovic 18 weeks.
You could certainly argue her influence is as large as all those women combined.
Here’s a telling anecdote from this year’s French Open:
Because of the length of matches last Thursday, Sharapova’s second-round match against Ayumi Morita of Japan, scheduled last on Court Suzanne Lenglen, was not only going to start late because of the marathon five-setter between American John Isner and Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, it was unlikely to be completed that night.
The wheels went into motion, we’re told.
Sharapova — and/or her people — was insistent that she not play until the next day.
Her agent reportedly got involved. The WTA reportedly got involved. The excrement hit the ventilation system.
Sharapova ended up squeezed second into the Friday schedule on Lenglen, making No. 1 seed and world No. 1 Azarenka versus Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak the fifth match on the schedule. The two women were contacted late the previous night and advised of this.
Sharapova made quick work of Morita, but the schedule ran long anyway.
First, Azarenka and Wozniak were to be shifted to Court 2, then possibly to Court Philippe Chatrier. They ended up on Court 1, with few fans, and an 8 p.m. start time.
“It was a little bit of a hustle, and you don’t know when to prepare,” Azarenka said at the time. “So it was difficult.”
In the end, the current No. 1 was treated like just some rank-and-file player as Sharapova was accommodated.
The point of bringing this up is not to criticize Sharapova for throwing her considerable weight around. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
When your goal is to win a major title, do what you have to do; Sharapova didn’t get where she is without attending to every detail. They don’t have to say yes.
The point of bringing it up is to show what kind of clout she has, regardless of her ranking.
And now, she’s on top once more."