There is this short documentary on Netflix about tennis star Maria Sharapova. To be honest, this show is more a vlog (video blog) recording her thoughts, feelings and general attitude after being suspended from tennis for 2 years (reduced to 15 months) for testing positive for using a performing enhancing drug meldonium.
Watching this documentary, I find her reaction to this unfortunate situation very zen like. It seemed like she took a step back from everything and examined this incident rationally. Not being able to play at a high level for 15 months is devastating for any athlete especially for an athlete of her caliber. She opted to not blame her team and fully accepted the responsibility of her actions as a leader should. And even if she were to blame someone, she would still have to wait 15 months to play competitively. As the show points out, Sharapova took the time to pursue other interests that she was never able to do because of tennis… traveling to different locales, studying at Harvard, eating with friends.
As of April 2017, her suspension expired and she was allowed to play again. However not playing competitively after 15 months certainly has taken a toll on her playing. Looking at ESPN’s 2017 and 2018 records, she’s only had 1 tournament win and quite a few early exits…. the latest being the Stuttgart Open losing 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 4-6.
Now the real question is… How long will it take Sharapova to be back in competitive shape and ranked in the top 10?