Maria Sharapova has been one of the most popular tennis players since the turn of the century and a Career Grand Slam, 36 WTA titles, and 21 weeks at top of the WTA rankings have gone a long way in helping her cause.
However, the former Russian player who retired in February earlier this year opened up on her 15-month ban from the sport for the consumption of a banned substance Meldonium.
“That morning I woke up and felt like I was preparing for a game. It is very hard to think that you have to face the world and say that you have screwed up everything,” she was quoted as saying in a new Movistar+ documentary on her career.
“After the press conference, I deleted all social networks from my phone, to protect myself, keep sanity and protect myself from opinions and judgments. I think I have never been concerned with what people think of me, but suddenly this happens and you see that you care what they know. And that disgusted me, it was a very unpleasant feeling,” she added.
The 33-year-old revealed how her family helped her cope with what she called the toughest phase of her life.
“My mother... spent weeks sleeping with me so that I was accompanied,” she said.
“My father also accompanied me a lot to make sure that nothing went wrong, that I didn’t start blaming others. You had to take control and know that you screwed up,” she added.
The Russian’s career was hampered by injury and she couldn’t quite reach the heights expected of her after she beat Serena Williams in 2004, aged 17.
After her comeback from the ban, Sharapova returned to the top 25 and also reached the quarter-finals of the French Open.