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.
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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.