Maria Sharapova’s 2020 campaign got off to a losing start at the Brisbane International, but her mood will no doubt improve after she was awarded a wildcard into the Australian Open.
The five-time Grand Slam champion played only seven tournaments in 2019 as she struggled with injury with her last appearance on the WTA Tour a first-round exit from the US Open in September.
After several failed comeback attempts, she finally set foot on court on Tuesday as she took on Jennifer Brady in the first round at the Brisbane International.
However, she suffered a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) defeat at the hands of the American.
Jennifer Brady completes the fight back at the @BrisbaneTennis!
Knocks out former champion Sharapova 3-6, 6-1. 7-6(3)! pic.twitter.com/7HbO0Y263N
— WTA (@WTA) January 7, 2020
Sharapova has slipped to No 147 in the WTA Rankings, which meant she would not have made the Australian Open main draw.
However, the 2008 champion will feature at Melbourne Park again after tournament director Craig Tiley announced she would receive a wildcard.
After her Brisbane defeat, the 32-year-old revealed that she has been under the weather in the build-up to the tournament.
“I’ve been fighting virus for a couple weeks and ended up in the hospital the other day, so that wasn’t fun,” she said.
“I just couldn’t keep anything in (but) that’s the extent that I’m going to share with you.”
She added: “I think I’m always disappointed because it’s a result-oriented sport but I have to be proud of my effort.
“Yes there are a lot of improvements I need to make but I fought really hard. I think I did a lot better than I expected of my body.”
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