Maria Sharapova's love for tennis has only grown stronger during her 15-month doping ban, the five-times grand slam victor has said as she continues her comeback from the suspension.
Sharapova, 30, returned to tennis last April having served a 15-month doping ban for testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in 2016.
"I'm aware of what many of my peers have said about me, and how critical of me some of them have been in the press", she wrote.
The former world number one from Russian Federation, preparing to play at Stanford next week in her first WTA tournament in the United States since her suspension ended, wrote on the Players' Tribune website of the roller-coaster of emotions she has experienced since returning in April from her suspension for the use of meldonium. If you're a human being with a normal, beating heart, you know. Most notable, though, was the five-time Grand Slam champion's thoughts on her critics. "I don't think that sort of thing will ever fully be possible to ignore". I don't think it will ever not be weird or hurtful to go through. I've always tried to keep a generous attitude toward critics in general - whoever they are, and whenever they've been there.
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"I have forgotten nothing, I know exactly what I have said, some players (...) but I always choose the way of wisdom in the face of criticism", said Sharapova, ensuring that it does not answer them, never by media interposed.
Though Sharapova has shown no cracks in her armor, and is revered for being a wall of mental toughness, she tells readers that on the inside that well isn't almost as secure as it appears. 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. "If anything, it's only grown stronger".
She made her return to the tennis courts just 24 hours after completing the suspension and, reflecting on the time away from the sport, Sharapova wrote: "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. Things still get through, and still make me feel certain ways".
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