There isn’t a whole lot that Maria Sharapova hasn’t done in her nine year professional career. She holds 22 singles titles, three Grand Slam championships and was ranked as the No. 1 player in the world in 2005.
But Sharapova will experience something tonight that the seasoned pro hasn’t in years: playing a tournament for the first time.
"It’s unusual for me to come to an event for the first time," said Sharapova. "I travel all over the world for many years and play a lot of events so it’s actually a nice change of pace to play an event that’s new."
Sharapova has missed the Cincinnati event in the past due largely to injuries that have plagued the Russian for the last several years.
While winning here in Cincinnati is her immediate goal, Sharapova remains focused on winning another Grand Slam.
"The goal before the US Open and for the whole Olympus US Open Series is just to play matches and play against different types of opponents and find yourself in different situations whether you’re up or whether you’re down and find ways to win," said Sharapova. "It’s something that we call, ‘getting match tough.’"
Wimbledon champs first up on busy Tuesday
Recently crowned Wimbledon doubles champs Vania King and Yarolslava Shvedova kick off a busy Tuesday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. The doubles team faces off against Liga Dekmejere and Julie Ditty in a cozy Court 4 matchup at 11 AM.
In a busy day of highlight doubles, the Bondarenko sisters, Alona and Kateryna go against Anabel Medina Garrigues and Zi Yan in a late afternoon Court 3 match.
Highlighting Center Court in the day session is 200X Cincinnati champ Nadia Petrova and this year’s Cincinnati singles debut of Melanie Oudin. Oudin matches up against world No. 49, Russian Elena Vesnina.
Tuesday is Skyline High School Day around the grounds, with discounted tickets and lunch catered by the franchise.