INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Two practices within about 15 hours is all Maria Sharapova will get, before she starts her Indian Wells campaign Wednesday evening.
The 30-year-old Russian, unseeded, has not played the BNP Paribas Open in three years – since 2015, for reasons already well-documented.
But at least she got some time in under the lights during her first practice Monday night.
Tuesday morning, not on the official schedule, she returned to Court 9 to get more hitting in.
But she has not played against other female players, as most players will do to simulate match play before a big tournament. (Sharapova rare does this, though). She played a (very few) points against her hitting partner, Alex Kuznetsov.
Here’s what she looked like on Tuesday.
Low on match play
The two-time Indian Wells champion has played just one match since the Australian Open more than six weeks ago.
Her opponent, Naomi Osaka, is 10 years younger and ranked just four spots below Sharapova’s current No. 41.
They are the fifth match on the Stadium court, as the main draw play gets under way on Wednesday. There is not, though, an official night session. But this one will likely end up under the lights for the duration unless some of the earlier matches are really, really short.
An American is involved in each of the other four matchs on the main stadium. The only exception is Sharapova (a longtime U.S. resident) vs Osaka (also a nearly lifelong U.S. resident), the Russian against the Japanese.