Maria Sharapova’s coach has claimed the retired great could have won more than 10 Grand Slams if her shoulder injury wasn’t so severe.
Sharapova, who became one of the highest-paid sportswomen in the world, announced the end of her career at the age of 32.
Sharapova won five Grand Slams and completed a Career Grand Slam after her back-to-back French Open triumphs.
But her coach, Michael Joyce, said “one of her biggest weapons” was hampered after her shoulder surgery in 2008.
Joyce coached Sharapova between 2004-2011 and said just coming back from her nine-month lay-off after surgery was an incredible achievement.
“What a lot of people don’t realise is her coming back from that shoulder surgery was a win itself,” he told Stats Perform, according to Omnisport.
“She had a great serve, but at the time her shoulder wasn’t strong enough to do her normal long motion. She got back to the top 10 basically without one of her biggest weapons.
“The rest of her career I think she managed it, she could still serve big but I don’t personally think it was anything like before she had the injury. I think if she hadn’t hurt her shoulder she could probably have won double-digit grand slams.”
Sharapova announces retirement
Siberia-born Sharapova, whose Wimbledon victory over Serena Williams in 2004, aged 17, propelled her to superstardom and riches, broke the news in an article for magazine Vanity Fair.
“I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis -I’m saying goodbye,” Sharapova, whose rags to riches story captivated the sporting world but turned sour when she was banned for doping, wrote in a farewell article.
Her decision to quit is hardly a major surprise as she has been a pale imitation of her former self since returning in 2017 from the 15-month ban for taking prohibited heart drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova’s Former Trainer: I Think She Gave It Everything
Yutaka Nakamura, the Japanese trainer who worked with former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova for seven years, says the Russian gave her all to her career. 32 year old Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis last month after winning five Grand Slams in her career.
Speaking to Mainichi, Nakamura says, “I think she gave it everything. The athlete who won (the Australian Open) was 21 years old, and players aged 10 to 19 are performing well, too. With the competition getting harder, maybe she thought now was a good time to bow out.
She also has an interest in business, and I think after retiring from tennis she will reflect on what she’s learned from the sport and become someone who is an influence to those around her.” Nakamura says Sharapova always had a desire to improve even when she was at the top.
“Even when she’d just won, she’d be talking about what training we were going to do the next day. She was always thinking about where she could improve. She liked to try new things, even during training.”
Nakamura is now working as Head of Tennis & Strength Conditioning at IMG Academy in Florida and says he wants to impart his knowledge to the next generation. “Once again, I’ve noticed her greatness, her feeling that she has to keep going without giving in.
Perhaps there will be no athlete greater than her. But I want to continue to give back the things I learned with her to the younger generation.”