Maria Sharapova’s battle to rediscover her best continues to be tougher

Maria Sharapova’s battle to rediscover her best continues to be tougher

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With the latest exit from the Madrid Open, Maria Sharapova road to rediscover her best continues to be an uphill one. Sharapova, who was the winner of the 2014 Madrid Open, came up short against Kiki Bertens and lost the Madrid Open quarter-final on Thursday in straight sets of 4-6, 6-2 and 6-3.

The former world number 1, Maria Sharapova, one has shown only glimpses of her best after her return from the doping ban last year. The Five Grand Slam title winner was banned for 15 months for testing positive for heart drug meldonium. Sharapova’s journey to get back to her dominance in tennis was again hurdled by a loss against Kiki Bertens in the Madrid Open quarter-finals on Thursday. Despite a strong start, Sharapova didn’t have an answer to the powerful hitting from unseeded Bertens, losing 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Sharapova took away the positives from the game and was determined to work on their weak points and return back much stronger. 

"I look at these types of matches, I see a lot of things I should be better at, I should improve at," Sharapova, languishing down at 52 in the rankings, told reporters as quoted by TOI. "I think it's a combination of, yes, taking the positives, but also being a little tough on yourself and expecting a little bit more from yourself.”

"You can't keep giving yourself a pat on the back. It was great to get those wins against those few players. But there's a reason I came up short today. I go back to the drawing board and start over again."

Sharapova looks unlikely to be seeded on her return to the French Open a title she has won twice. On her return from the ban last year, she was denied a wildcard entry at the 2016 Australian Open by the organizers. She has managed to win only one title after her return and split with her long-time coach Sven Groeneveld after losing in the first round at Indian Wells in March. She revealed that she did not regret her split with her coach and was determined to come back to her best.

"Post Indian Wells was a tough few weeks for me, I think I don't know many people that would be like, 'Let's keep going'," she said. "It was really tough. I was willing to make changes, willing to get back out there, willing to put in the work.

"I think that attitude certainly helps, that perspective on things. When you try to make the right decisions for yourself in a very selfish sport, maybe somehow in the end it works out."

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