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Maria Sharapova still struggling to finish her tale of redemption | Tumaini Carayol

The former World No 1 has struggled with injuries and controversy in recent years, but will head to Wimbledon believing her story is not over yet

Fifteen years ago, Maria Sharapova arrived at Wimbledon and produced one of the biggest tennis stories in history, storming to a maiden slam title at 17 years old. Her precociousness was astounding. She finished her first press conference by announcing: “I’m here to win it.” Before her semi-final against the former champion Lindsay Davenport, she said: “She won this tournament and I want this tournament.” In the final, she shocked Serena Williams with her relentless depth of shot and a fearlessness. Everything about her first triumph seemed natural.

This past week, Sharapova, five times a grand slam champion, returned to competition for the first time in four-and-a-half months at the Mallorca Open, a tiny grass court event held in a secluded corner of the Spanish island. Sharapova is 32 now and in February underwent a second surgery on her right shoulder. Mallorca was her fourth tournament of the year and her first since January, when she lost in the quarter-finals at Shenzhen and in the fourth round of the Australian Open before withdrawing before her second-round match at St Petersburg, because of her shoulder. Though she is in Britain this coming week she will not be playing at Eastbourne. Wimbledon, starting a week on Monday, is quite a challenge.

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