Shara­pova boxes clever as re­turn nears

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Maria Shara­pova said Wed­nes­day she re­fused to feel sorry for her­self dur­ing her dop­ing ban, oc­cu­py­ing her time by study­ing at Har­vard, writ­ing a book and even learn­ing how to box.

The former world No.1 and five-time Grand Slam ti­tle win­ner told a Rus­sian chat show that she par­tic­u­larly en­joyed lac­ing up a pair of box­ing gloves as part of her fit­ness regime.

“I tried box­ing as I needed to keep my­self in good form. It was great as I could imag­ine some par­tic­u­lar peo­ple whom I wanted to hit,” said the 29-year-old, with­out elab­o­rat­ing on the iden­tity of her imag­ined tar­gets.

Shara­pova was banned from the sport af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for mel­do­nium at the 2016 Aus­tralian Open.

How­ever, she will re­turn to ac­tion at the Stuttgart clay­court tour­na­ment on April 26 af­ter her ini­tial two-year ban was cut to 15 months.

Her reap­pear­ance in the sport will come seven days af­ter her 30th birth­day.

“I found out that I’m very good in rest­ing,” said Shara­pova when she was asked what lessons she had learned dur­ing her en­forced ab­sence from the tour and which has left her with­out a world rank­ing.

“Formerly I couldn’t imag­ine what to do dur­ing such a huge pe­riod of free time. I had al­most 12 months to think, to read books etc.

“I also had a va­ca­tion in Croa­tia. I cel­e­brated the New Year in Hawaii. I’ve never been in Lon­don as a tourist be­fore. I’ve seen al­most noth­ing there while play­ing at Wim­ble­don.”

Shara­pova, who stud­ied at Har­vard Busi­ness School to help ex­pand her candy busi­ness, added she had writ­ten a book about her life.

“I wrote a book which will be out in Septem­ber. First it will be is­sued in English and then trans­lated into Rus­sian.”

Ear­lier on Wed­nes­day Shara­pova said it was too early to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of her par­tic­i­pa­tion in 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo.

“Now I’m fo­cused on my come­back,” the Lon­don Olympics sil­ver medal­ist and 2008 Fed Cup win­ner told Rus­sia’s TASS news agency, say­ing it was “still un­clear” if she would play in Tokyo.

“I would re­ally love to play [in the Tokyo Games]. It was hard to watch peo­ple com­pet­ing at [Rio] Olympics, while I was un­able to play there.”

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