Sharapova is an aggressive baseliner, with power, depth, and angles on her
forehand and backhand. She is one of the few players on the WTA who uses the
reverse forehand a lot. Instead of using a traditional volley or overhead smash,
she often prefers to hit a powerful swinging volley when approaching the net
or attacking lobs.
Sharapova is thought to have good speed around the court, especially considering
her height. At the beginning of 2008, some observers noted that Sharapova had
developed her game, showing improved movement and footwork and the addition of a
drop shot and sliced backhand to her repertoire of shots. Despite her powerful game, Sharapova's greatest asset is considered to be her mental toughness and competitive spirit, with Nick Bollettieri stating that she is "tough as nails". Hall-of-famer John McEnroe said of Sharapova,
she's one of the best competitors in the history of the sport. Sharapova is
known for on-court grunting, which reached a recorded 101 decibels during a
match at Wimbledon in 2005.
During her second round match in Birmingham in 2003, Sharapova was asked to tone down the level of her grunt after opponent Nathalie Dechy complained to the umpire, with Sharapova's
response saying that her grunting was a natural instinct. Monica Seles
suggested that grunting is involuntary and a part of tennis. When questioned by the media about her grunting, Sharapova
urged the media to just watch the match. Her defensive game has been worked on by her new coach, and this has reflected in her results, making consecutive semi-finals at premier mandatory events on the tour.
Early in her career Sharapova's first and second serves were regarded as
powerful, and she was believed to possess one of the best deliveries on the
Tour. Since the beginning of 2007, however, problems with her shoulder have
reduced the effectiveness of her serve.
The shoulder injury not only resulted in her inconsistent first serves, but also
her hitting high numbers of double faults. Two-time US Open singles champion Tracy Austin believes that Sharapova
often loses confidence in the rest of her game when she experiences problems
with her serve and consequently produces more unforced errors and generally
plays more tentatively, while tennis writer Joel Drucker remarked that her serve
was the catalyst for her entire game, and that her struggles with it left her
In her return from layoff in 2008 to 2009, she used an abbreviated motion, which was somewhat less powerful, and though producing aces also gave a very high number of double faults. After her early loss at the 2009 US Open, Sharapova
returned to a more elongated motion, similar to her pre-surgery serve. She has
since been able to produce speeds greater than before, including a 121 mph serve
hit at the Birmingham tournament in 2010 – the fastest serve of her career.
However since her shoulder operation Sharapova has been unable to control her
serve. This has led to numerous faults, as she can't feel how much power she is
generating. The new action led to an elbow injury, but under Thomas Hogstedt it
has improved but can still be erratic.
Because she predicates her game on power, Sharapova's preferred surfaces are the fast-playing hard and grass courts, as evident through her 24 victories on hard court and grass court. This is most notable when she won the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open crowns, where she had her career breakthrough and played her peak tennis level, respectively.
Sharapova, however, is not as well-suited to the slower clay courts as she is on hard and grass courts.
Sharapova has admitted that she is not as comfortable with her movement on clay
compared with other court surfaces and once described herself as like a cow on
ice after a match on clay, due to her inability to slide. Despite this, she has shown improvement on this surface with respect to experience, as evident with her first WTA red clay title at the 2010 Internationaux de Strasbourg, 7 years since playing on the WTA circuit.
Less than a year later, she won her biggest red clay title at the Tier I 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Sharapova is still showing rapid improvement on clay courts as evident by winning the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and then a month later successfully defending her 2011 title in Rome, by winning the 2012 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, and then winning the 2012 French Open, her best clay court season to date with a win/loss record of 19–1, with a total loss of four sets the entire clay court season.
Ground strokes and net-play
Sharapova is also known for her phenomenally accurate and powerful groundstrokes. She has a powerful forehand which tends to set up points and create successful winners. Sharapova occasionally utilizes a reverse follow-through on her forehand, similar to that of Lindsay Davenport and Rafael Nadal,
which allows her to hit the ball later than normal and add top-spin, while it
can also lead to timing issues resulting in errors.
The backhand, although not as dominant in setting points up, is her more
reliable shot with many tennis analysts considering this to be her best asset, and one of tennis' great shots. Her net play is good when on the attack, often she will choose to drive the volley instead of slice volleys, but this is not seen as a strength—this seems to be continually worked on.
Maria Sharapova born April 19, 1987) is a Russian professional tennis player. As of February 25, 2013 she is ranked world no. 3.
Sharks forward Evander Kane on Sunday vehemently denied allegations made by his wife that he bet on his own games and has intentionally tried to lose for gambling profit -- claims that are being investigated by the NHL.
Sources: Mets don't plan to sign top pick Rocker
The Mets don't plan to sign first-round pick Kumar Rocker after they had concerns over the results of his physical examination, sources told ESPN.
Heat decline Iguodala option, pick up Dragic's
The Heat declined Andre Iguodala's option for next season but exercised the option on guard Goran Dragic's contract.
King: Russians 'should not be here' due to doping
American swimmer Lilly King doubled down on criticism of Russian athletes after the president of the Russian Olympic Committee said his teams' medals are the "best answer" to critics who questioned why the country is allowed to compete following scandals.
Team USA draws Spain in men's hoops quarters
The three-time reigning Olympic champion Americans will face reigning World Cup champion Spain in the quarterfinals of the men's tournament at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.
Source: Fleury agrees to play for Blackhawks
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury has agreed to play for the Chicago Blackhawks, a source confirmed to ESPN's Emily Kaplan.
Free agency, Olympics collide for Fournier, Batum
Basketball and business are about to mix in a way players have never experienced as the quarterfinals of the Olympic men's tournament arrives on the same day free agency opens in the NBA.
Italy's Jacobs claims surprising gold in 100m
Lamont Marcell Jacobs won the men's Olympic 100-meter race Sunday night, crossing the line in 9.8 seconds to bring the sprint gold to Italy for the first time.
MyKayla Skinner's gymnastics career ends at Tokyo Olympics with the unlikeliest of silver medals
Skinner said she wanted to win a medal for Simone Biles, whose withdrawal from the vault final gave Skinner an unexpected chance to compete.
Olympic gymnastics: Suni Lee earns bronze, Skinner wins silver in event finals
We've got you covered with all the action you might have missed in Sunday's event finals.
Berhalter, USMNT look to top Mexico in another final
The USMNT may be minus its top stars but is in Las Vegas to win. Mexico, meanwhile, simply cannot afford to lose. Get set for another epic contest!
Born to be on Team USA: Jessica Springsteen is a star in her own right
When Springsteen competes in equestrian jumping, she'll aim to take her famous family name to a new level.
There's a new fastest man alive, Caeleb Dressel caps historic week and more
Lamont Marcell Jacobs won the men's 100-meter race and Team USA won big in the final night in the pool.
Meet the Diana Taurasi you didn't know existed
The brash playmaker has embraced parenthood, confronted the end of her career and spurned Father Time. Diana Taurasi is a different woman as she goes for an unprecedented fifth basketball gold medal.
Why USWNT won't get an easy game vs. Canada in Olympic semifinal
Having edged past the Dutch, the USWNT gets an easier game against Canada in the Olympic semifinals. Or does it? All signs point to a great game.
Catarina Macario's journey from boys' teams in Brazil to the USWNT, Olympics
After tears and taunts, Macario showed the reward of overcoming challenges.
Olympic champ Lee adds bronze on uneven bars
Sunisa Lee, the 18-year-old Olympic gymnastics champion from Minnesota, added a bronze in the uneven bars finals on Sunday. Lee earned a silver in the team competition on Tuesday before grabbing gold in the all-around on Thursday.
Dressel wins 2 more golds, closes Games with 5
Caeleb Dressel became the fifth swimmer to win five golds in one Olympics, adding to his haul Sunday in the 50 free and 4x100 medley relay.
French boxer refuses to leave ring after DQ loss
France's Mourad Aliev sat on the Olympic ring apron for about an hour in protest of a referee's decision to disqualify him for intentionally using is head to clash with his opponent.
Novak Djokovic lost the bronze medal match in the Tokyo 2020 men's singles event to Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday before withdrawing from the mixed-doubles competition.
Casas homers to lead U.S. over South Korea
Red Sox prospect Triston Casas hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the fourth inning, Nick Allen also went deep and the United States rallied past defending champion South Korea 4-2 Saturday night to finish the group stage of Olympic baseball at 2-0.
Caeleb Dressel's Olympics can be summed up in one word: Brilliance
Dressel was the favorite to win every sprint event even though he had never won an individual Olympic gold medal. With two more on his final night, he didn't disappoint.
Welcome to a new era in 100-meter sprinting
No Usain Bolt, and unknown Americans. The Olympic 100-meter finals wrote a whole new story in sprinting.
Xander Schauffele goes from oh-so-close to Olympic gold
His career has been filled with oh-so-close finishes, but no major wins. That changed Sunday. Schauffele overcame a home-country favorite and won a gold medal for the United States.
How the Falcons use Bill Walsh fellowship to emphasize coaching diversity
Sarah Hogan and Maquice Williams steward the BIll Walsh fellowship program for the Falcons in hopes of providing female and minority candidates the same pathways they had to jobs in the NFL.
NFL training camp updates: Super Bowl champ Buccaneers on field, Lions Olympic watch party, more
All 32 NFL teams are on the field Saturday and we are covering it live. Tom Brady and Tampa Bay start their quest to win back-to-back titles.
Korey Stringer's death, 20 years later: The lasting impact and how the NFL changed
During 2001 training camp, Vikings lineman Korey Stringer died at age 27 from exertional heatstroke. In the aftermath, new protocols and a psychological pivot changed football.
MLB trade deadline tracker: Everything that went down
The MLB trade deadline has passed. Here's our reaction to completed deals and what to know for every team.
A UConn pitcher's survival, unexpected bravery and composure in a remarkable moment
The Huskies reliever and his family helped rescue an 88-year-old woman after the tower collapsed. Helping save her life has forever changed theirs.
NBA experts: Winners, losers and shocking trades from a ridiculous draft
From blockbuster trades to shocking lottery picks, our experts break down everything from a wild draft night.
The history behind Texas' and Oklahoma's move to the SEC -- and why it's happening now
The power play by Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 for the SEC brought back lots of bad memories and hurt feelings that date all the way back to the Southwest Conference days.
Madden NFL 22 ratings and rankings: Meet the top 10 quarterbacks, led by Mahomes and Brady
Madden NFL 22 ratings are out, and we have the top 10s at several positions, including quarterback and wide receiver.
Fantasy football 12-team, PPR mock draft: QBs going early
Our fantasy crew held its fourth mock draft of the season, and quarterbacks flew off the board faster than usual. Is this a trend to watch?