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Maria Sharapova happy with her ‘baby step’ forward

Russian world No 4 glad to be back despite losing exhibition match to Ana Ivanovic

Image Credit: AFP
Maria Sharapova hits a forehand return to Ana Ivanovicduring an exhibition match in Bogota on Sunday.
Gulf News

Bogota: Maria Sharapova described her comeback after a four-month injury absence as a ‘baby step’ forward in her recovery.

The four-time major winner took on 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in an exhibition match in Bogota as she tests the injured shoulder which forced her to call time on her 2013 season after a first round loss in Cincinnati in August.

“After months of not competing, tonight was a baby step forward! I missed this so much! Thank you Colombia for such a warm welcome. #imback,” tweeted the Russian superstar on Sunday after losing the match 6-1, 1-6, 12-10 to the Serb.

The right shoulder injury forced the 26-year-old world No 4 to miss the US Open as well as the season-ending WTA Championships. Sharapova is due to make her competitive return at the Brisbane International from December 30.

Meanwhile, Australia’s leading tennis player Bernard Tomic is satisfied with his new coach Velimir Zovko of Croatia.

Tomic has appointed Zovko as his coach for the 2014 season while his father and coach John Tomic serves the remainder of a ban for assaulting his former training partner.

The 21-year-old Australian said Zovko arrived in Australia last week and he has started to gel well with his father.

“He is starting to get into a good bond with my dad and team,” Tomic told Channel Seven’s Sunrise programme on Monday. “It is still important to have my dad there, he is the one that brought me up and we spent a lot of time together.

“It is very difficult for me to let him go, he knows what is best for me and my tennis.”

He said his new coach was going to take his role and help his father.

Tomic is preparing for a busy home summer of tennis, representing Australia in the Hopman Cup in Perth in late December then defending his Sydney International title in the lead up to the Australian Open in January.

Tomic, who is currently ranked No 51 in the world, hopes to break into the world’s top 20 in 2014.

“It is difficult to get into that group now, so maybe top 20 is a reasonable goal,” he said.

Tomic said he still had some growing up to do to reach the top level. “I am trying as best as I can and sometimes it comes out the wrong way, which is not good to see,” he said. “I have got to become a little bit wiser and I think mature a little bit more.”