The disclosure sent shockwaves through the international tennis community, as Sharapova was placed on provisional suspension (reports say her cooperation could shorten her suspension to months instead of years).
“That is definitely not the case with Maria.” In some ways, the coach adds, these powerful women really haven’t progressed beyond being teenagers.
“These girls have been touring since they were 12, 13, 14 years old — their formative years — and they continue to travel in this same bubble. They live in a vacuum, so there are elements of jealousy when a girl rises in the ranks.” And schadenfreude when she stumbles.
And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.” The strength coach says there is also an intense rivalry between Azarenka and Sharapova: “They live in the same town [Manhattan Beach, Calif.] and would be two feet from each other, and you’d never know they knew each other.” Still, a sports agent who knows the women of the WTA tour says that Wozniacki and Serena’s friendship is an anomaly in individual sports.
“Is Ronda Rousey going to be friends with her biggest competitor?
On March 7, the Russian-born tennis champ stood before the press and admitted that she had failed a drug test, having tested positive for meldonium — a medication banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since the beginning of 2016 that aids in blood flow and can give an edge when it comes to cardiovascular performance.
“I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it,” said Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam winner said to be worth some 5 million.
Her camp” — coaches, trainers, assistants — “and even [now-ex-boyfriend tennis pro] Grigor Dimitrov would be chatting with everyone, and when [Sharapova] would walk in, Grigor and her coach would make eye contact and know to stop socializing.
“It became a joke amongst everyone [in pro tennis].” Part of the problem may be that this is the one game Sharapova doesn’t know how to play.
She doesn’t have a lot of close friendships on the tour.” As Sharapova told the Telegraph in 2013, “I’m not really close to many players.
I think just because you’re in the same sport it doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone.” “She most definitely doesn’t seem to have any friends on tour,” confirms a strength coach who has worked with a top-10 female player. When Maria walks into [the players’ lounge], things will stop midsentence.
Three years later, in 1994, her parents moved to Florida — arriving with just 0 — at the encouragement of Martina Navratilova, who had seen the girl play at a tennis clinic in Moscow.