My passion for the game has never wavered, says Maria Sharapova

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My passion for the game has never wavered, says Maria Sharapova

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SportsCafe Desk

07/27/2017

Ahead of her comeback at the 2017 Stanford Classic, Maria Sharapova has asserted that her love for tennis had not diminished because of the ban that she had recently being handed. On the other hand, the Russian revealed that her time away from tennis has only fueled her passion for the game.

Before the 2016 Australian Open, Sharapova failed a drug test when banned substance meldonium was detected in one of her samples. The International Tennis Federation took a bold step and suspended one of their star players for a period of two years, but later it was reduced. The 30-year-old has claimed that her 15-month doping ban has only encouraged her and fueled her passion for tennis.

"Though these last two years have been tougher - so much tougher - than I ever could have anticipated ... my passion for the game has never wavered." "If anything, it's only grown stronger,"  Sharapova wrote on the Players’ Tribune website ahead of the Stanford Classic.

The former world number one is practising hard to play at Stanford when the event starts next week. It will be her first WTA tournament in the United states since her suspension ended. She will feature in the tournament for the first time in six years, therefore, the officials gave her a wildcard entry. But, other players have criticised this step.

"I'm aware of what many of my peers have said about me, and how critical of me some of them have been in the press," she wrote. "If you're a human being with a normal, beating heart, you know ... I don't think that sort of thing will ever fully be possible to ignore."

She felt happy with the loyalty of her fans who supported her in the hardest phase of her career.

 "I'm sure my dozens of critics will show up, and so will my thousands of fans," she wrote. "But ultimately, who knows? When it comes to tennis, good or bad - there's really only one thing that I know for certain. I've missed it."

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