Maria Sharapova announces her return to the court with other big stars
Former World No 1 Maria Sharapova has revealed that she will be back on a court in Miami in 2024.
She won’t be competing in the Miami Open but February will see her pick up a paddle and take part in the second Pickleball Slam.
Sharapova took to social media to announce that she will partner John McEnroe at Pickleball Slam 2 in Miami in February 2024.
Pickleball is a court sport innovation that makes use of a smaller version of a tennis court and is played with paddles rather than rackets.
Sharapova and McEnroe will take on fellow Grand Slam icons in former married couple Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
Earlier this week Sharapova announced to her millions of followers that she would join in on the pickleball craze.
“I’m playing pickleball,” Sharapova announced in her video message sent out on multiple platforms.
“And not just any pickleball, I am playing with John McEnroe against Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
“February 4, in Miami, at the Hard Rock [Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida], it’s the Pickleball Slam 2.”
Sharapova admitted that she was feeling some nerves having not performed for a crowd since her retirement from the WTA Tour in 2020.
However, Sharapova is eager to rise to the challenge and show that she is still a fierce competitor.
Sharapova added: “Dare I say I’m getting a little competitive, and slightly nervous and anxious?
“But don’t mind me, I can’t wait to see you there, tune in, watch us, support us. Let’s go team… what’s our name?”
With McEnroe on her team, she won’t lack for vocal motivation with the seven-time Grand Slam winner returning to the event which forms part of the build-up to the Miami Open.
McEnroe is out to avenge a loss to Agassi this year after he and Michael Chang couldn’t get past the Slam icon and his partner Andy Roddick in Miami.
“Team Mac. The Mac Attack is back for Pickleball Slam 2,” McEnroe added in a video of his own.
There is a $1million purse to be awarded to the champions but they are expected to make a donation to charity with the winnings.
Sharapova won five Grand Slam titles across a storied and sometimes controversial career claiming the first of those at the tender age of 17.
Her rivalry with Serena Williams drove the American star to greater heights and added spades of drama to the WTA Tour.
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