Saturday, March 31, 2012

Has Maria Peaked?

Today, while most of the rest of the sports world was anticipating the NCAA Tournament's Final Four, I was doing something I did a year ago in what was a true deja vu moment.

I watched the women's final of the Sony Ericsson tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla. And, just like last year, Maria Sharapova lost in straight sets.

Last year, Sharapova lost to Victoria Azarenka, an up–and–comer who had been attracting some attention for awhile (and continued to do so through the end of the year). This time she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Radwanska has been a professional for several years, but she has kept such a low profile that most people who consider themselves tennis fans probably never heard of her until just recently.

This title was the biggest of Radwanska's brief career, and I don't wish to take anything away from her, but I can't help wondering if Sharapova has peaked.

I asked a friend of mine who used to write about tennis for the Arkansas Gazette when I was there if he thought Sharapova has peaked. He replied that he hadn't seen the match, but he thinks her shoulder injury may still be bothering her.

That's a plausible argument, based on what I saw today. But it doesn't explain everything.

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