US Open 2017: Can We Just Leave Maria Sharapova Alone?

All this Maria Sharapova shit is getting real sickening to me.

Unlike most players, some fans, and apparently every bad tennis writer (or even a bad golf writer), I actually enjoyed seeing Sharapova’s run to the second week in New York.

The game of tennis needs her, and it clearly missed her.  Sharapova is a huge name and an even bigger draw in a sport that is much more popular outside of the United States.  Casual fans are hard-pressed to be able to name more than two male and two female players currently on the tour, and Sharapova is one of those two names.

Her success this week brought a buzz to the tournament.  The first match she played on Monday evening against #2 Simona Halep was a phenomenal display of Sharapova’s immense talents.  It was even more impressive knowing how little she had played coming into the final Grand Slam, and how well Halep was playing herself entering the match.

Maria battled through the next two rounds before bowing out to #16 Anastasija Sevastova on Sunday in the fourth round.  The fact that many, including myself, think that result was a mild upset even though Sevastova reached the quarterfinals last year in New York, proves that there are still plenty of people believing in and rooting for Sharapova.

But there are still plenty of people (and opposing players) who are firmly against her as well, which is something that is terribly frustrating to me.

We all get that she was caught using an illegal substance in January 2016, and was suspended for 15 months soon afterwards.  She served her time, and she has the right to come back and resume her playing career.  Tournaments also have the right to give her wildcards into their events, for the main reason that she’s still a big draw and lots of people want to see her play.  The fanfare drives events to put her on the show courts, and since more people are interested obviously the networks and media will spend more time and effort covering her matches.

It’s really not that hard to figure this out.  Yet we still have loads of players bitching and complaining about her, and we have so-called “journalists” stating how much of a joke her tournament run was and how it has overshadowed other more important storylines.  And the best one was someone from Golf Digest criticizing her answers in a post-match interview… shouldn’t the golf site worry about their own sport?  And no I’m not even linking to that dumpster fire article… it’s an insult to those of us who do this for the love of writing.  And I don’t want to give that garbage any more hits.

Caroline Wozniacki made herself look like a total fool after losing in the second round to Ekaterina Makarova by turning the focus on her displeasure with Sharapova playing on Ashe Stadium while she was on Court 5.

“When you look on center court, I understand completely the business side of things and everything, but someone who comes back from a drug sentence and performance-enhancing drugs and then all of a sudden gets to play every single match on center court, I think that’s a questionable thing to do,” fifth-ranked Wozniacki told Ekstrabladet TV of Denmark.  “I think it doesn’t set a good example.”

But blaming another player who wasn’t on the court at the same time as she was is apparently a better example?  Please.  I could waste my breath (or typing actually) on a response, but I’m pretty sure this one was better:

“All that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. Yeah, I’m not sure where she is.”

Apparently Sharapova translated to English is SAVAGE.

Then you have an article on espnW stating that tennis and the US Open don’t need Sharapova… pretty sure that’s not proper English but that’s not my title it’s theirs.  It only takes about three and a half paragraphs to notice that this isn’t a discussion of what is really good for the sport, but one bringing up the author’s belief that Sharapova has been welcomed back so graciously because of her skin tone, and if a non-white player was suspended they’d be shunned instead.

I’m not even going to justify that opinion.  Again she served her time and she’s still a big name so why are we so upset over how well she did?  Do we really have so little to talk about than to make up some irrational, outlandish assumptions?  The article complains that there are other storylines we should be focusing on besides Sharapova.  How about writing about those storylines instead of bitching about them not being discussed?  Wow that’s a novel concept huh?

The author is right, there are a lot of intriguing topics and players left in the women’s and men’s draw at the US Open.  I can’t wait to see who comes out on top, and read about how we can blame Maria Sharapova for everything that went wrong at the event.

#blameMaria

Written by: Adam Belue (@albinomamba44)

I was born and raised in Fall River, MA and I currently write Bruins and tennis blogs for Couch Guy Sports, cover baseball and hockey for CLNS Media, have an internship writing with the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), and work in retail. My two loves are the Green Bay Packers and the Bruins.. along with sleeping, napping, watching terrible reality shows, and figuring out new ways to lose at fantasy football.

adambelue

I was born and raised in Fall River, MA and I currently write Bruins and tennis blogs for Couch Guy Sports, cover baseball and hockey for CLNS Media, have an internship writing with the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), and work in retail. My two loves are the Green Bay Packers and the Bruins.. along with sleeping, napping, watching terrible reality shows, and figuring out new ways to lose at fantasy football.

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