Maria Sharapova’s sports career is going through the most difficult time since she returned to tennis after being disqualified for consuming meldonium. An unsuccessful performance at the US Open ended a week ago led to the largest drop in the former first racket of the world in the WTA ranking in the last two years. After the defeat from Serena Williams, when the Russian woman was able to win the whole game in each of the lost sets, she dropped from 87th position to 135th.

Sharapova then, of course, had no luck with the draw. After missing a huge number of tournaments due to trauma, she immediately met a rival who ranks among the best in the world and reached the finals of the US Open. In addition, it is against Williams that the 32-year-old tennis player is especially difficult to play psychologically. If they had met at a later stage, Sharapova would have been more likely to impose a struggle.

This failure is already in the past, which, however, will now have a huge impact on the future of the tennis player. In New York, Sharapova was unable to protect 230 rating points at once - it was almost one third of her supply, which gradually melted while she missed one major tournament after another. Now it needs to be replenished, and as soon as possible, while there is such an opportunity. After all, if the application for the next Grand Slam tournament, Australian Open had been closed right now, Sharapova would only have qualified, and for her this option can hardly be called acceptable.

There are only five tournament weeks left until the end of the season, during which you can earn rating points. The good news for Sharapova is that she will not have to defend last year's points somewhere, since after the previous US Open she took a break until the winter. She can perform anywhere, and she will not lose the available points, but can only add earned points. The nearest recalculation will occur only in January, when Sharapova will have to defend her quarterfinal at the tournament in Shenzhen.

However, Sharapova herself is in no hurry to use the huge selection of tournaments that she has. She missed the ending week, which included the Premier Series tournament in Zhengzhou and two 250-thousandths in Hiroshima and Nanchang. Also, the Russian woman did not show up for another Premier in Osaka and less prestigious competitions in Guangzhou and Seoul. The organizers of the tournaments of the next two weeks also did not announce the appearance of a Russian woman, although a major start in Beijing falls on this period, which will be attended by almost all the leaders of women's tennis.

Sharapova misses all of September and early October, but then she still returns to the court. For the first time since the US Open, she will play in the tournament in Linz, which has the lowest category in the WTA tour. With the Austrian tournament, the Russians have warm memories. 13 years ago, Sharapova won on him, winning the fourth competition in a row after triumphs in San Diego, at the US Open and in Zurich. In addition, then Sharapova asked the organizers to arrange a ski trip in the Alps for her father, and they fulfilled the tennis player’s wish.

“I have many wonderful memories connected with the tournament in Linz. I will be glad to return and meet with many of my wonderful fans. I really appreciate this tournament and thank its sponsors. I look forward to the opportunity to play, ”said Sharapova.

Servus Maria! 🤩After 13 years our champion from 2006 returns to the #upperaustrialadieslinz! @MariaSharapova: “I have so many great memories of the Linz tournament and I am really excited to be coming back to see so many of my amazing fans.” @ WTA # wtalinz # porsche @ / x2cVeZ7hS7

- WTA Linz (@WTALinz) September 13, 2019

No matter how the tennis player strives to perform in Linz, she will not improve her position there much. Only in case of victory will she receive 280 rating points and earn $ 250 thousand. Then Sharapova will be able to return to her ninth dozen WTA ratings, but she still has to earn a victory even in such a tournament. Of course, the rivals on it will not be the most sophisticated, but at least the 33rd racket of the world of Barbora Strytsova and 52nd Camila Georgie accepted the invitation.

After Linz, there will be only one competitive week, in which Sharapova can be busy. Next will be the tournament in Luxembourg and the Kremlin Cup. Since it is possible that by then she will remain outside the first hundred of the rating, the Russian woman will have nothing left but to come to Moscow two years later.

She will have no other choice but to stay afloat and be in demand in the world of tennis. Sharapova can either independently submit an application, which closes on September 16, and rely on a second wild card. Although it is possible that she will choose a less representative tournament in Luxembourg, but then again she won’t be able to earn as many points as she plays at the Premiere in Russia.

Skipping the entire Asian tour, Sharapova will avoid acclimatization problems and will be able to more safely prepare for the return under the guidance of her new coach Riccardo Piatti. However, if her bet on the end of the season in Europe does not play, then it will be difficult for her to return to Shenzhen in early January, where she will have to defend points next time. After this, Sharapova may be even lower in the ranking.

About the current form of the Russian woman so far can only be judged by her match with Caroline Wozniacki. The two former first racquets in the world met this weekend in American Greenbreer at the Champions Tennis Classic exhibition tournament. The Russian woman lost in two sets with a score of 6: 7, 2: 6.

2019 Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic Women's Singles Match: @MariaSharapova vs. @CaroWozniacki featuring special guest star @bubbawatson 🎾

- The Greenbrier (@The_Greenbrier) September 15, 2019