Cape Town - Maria Sharapova has been under much scrutiny since her
return to tennis following her doping ban, scrutiny she revealed is impossible
The Russian superstar spent 15 months on the sidelines after
she tested positive for meldonium and returned this year in April. Given
Sharapova's ranking, she was handed wildcard entries to several tournaments and
became the subject of much criticism.
But like a true grand slam champion, Sharapova is determined
to take the high road.
"I'm aware of what many of my peers have said about me
and how critical of me some of them have been," the 30-year-old wrote on
the Players Tribune website.
"If you're a human being with a normal beating heart, I
don't think that sort of thing will ever be possible to ignore.
"But at the same time, I've always tried to keep a
generous attitude toward critics in general - whoever they are, and whenever
they’ve been there. I've never wanted to respond to the people trashing me by
trashing them back; that's always been important to me.
"I've always wanted to respond by showing grace -
something I learned from my mom, one of the most graceful and elegant people I
know. I've always wanted to face my critics by simply taking the high road. And
by showing them, by showing everyone, that taking the high road is a
Now, Sharapova has a chance to set things right. The former
world number one will feature in her first grand slam since serving her ban at
the US Open next week.
Not only is she looking forward to proving her doubters
wrong, but competing on the big stage as well.
"When it comes to tennis, good or bad - there's only
one thing that I know for certain - I've missed it," added Sharapova.
"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 has only grown stronger."