Coachless Sharapova preps for Rogers Cup (video)

TORONTO – It is indeed true that Thomas Hogstedt is no longer working with Maria Sharapova.

In the end, given how rarely the former No. 1 has been healthy enough to compete, there isn’t much call for a full-time coach.

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And so Hogstedt is now working with fellow Swede Rebecca Peterson, who upset top seed Sloane Stephens at the Citi Open in D.C. before losing to finalist Camila Giorgi of Italy.

Sharapova has played just five tournaments since last year’s US Open.

And in her most recent one, she retired down 0-5 in the third set to Pauline Parmentier in the first round of Wimbledon.

The shoulder, and the right forearm – won’t let her play. Which is a shame at just 32. Because when she does play, she’s hitting the ball as well as she always has.

Sharapova has never really been the same since a 15-month break mandated by the positive doping test for meldonium at the 2017 Australian Open.

She returned very, very motivated to make up for lost time. But her body has had different ideas.

Here’s how she looked on the stadium court at the Rogers Cup Saturday, with hitting partner Alex Kuznetsov.

The “former champions” section

This is the first time Sharapova has made it to Toronto since 2011. And it’s only the third time she has made it to Canada overall since then. The other two occasions in 2014 and a year ago, were in Montreal. (There was that other time in Montreal where she did make it to town, practiced, and then pulled out on site).

She first played the tournament in 2003, and made the final in Toronto in 2009.

Currently ranked No. 82, Sharapova needed a wild card to get into the draw. She will face No. 16 seed Anett Kontaveit in the first round.

If she can get through that, she would play either Carla Suárez Navarro or … Venus Williams.

Williams also had been the beneficiary of what’s called a “top 20” wild card, available for former champions who need them. But after a couple of withdrawals, the 39-year-old Williams squeezed in on her own ranking (which is No. 50 this week). And that wild card went to Svetlana Kuznetsova instead.

 

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