Maria Sharapova’s US Open run came to an end, after little-known 16th-seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia beat her in a two-hour, 17-minute match on Sunday.
Despite being knocked out of the tournament in the in three sets [5-7, 6-4, 6-2] by 27-year-old Sevastova, the five-time Grand Slam champion said she was grateful for the opportunity to perform at the tournament and has rather positive emotions.
“It’s been a really great ride in the last week,” Sharapova said to reporters at the post match press conference.
“Ultimately I can take a lot from this week. It's great to get that major out of the way. It was an incredible opportunity. I'm very thankful for the opportunity, I did my best. I can be proud of that,” she added.
Coming off her 15-month doping ban, the former world Number One – currently ranked 146th – was granted a wildcard to perform at US Open.
The Russian received a rather warm welcome from fans after she superbly outplayed current world Number Two Simona Halep in her first match on the tournament.
Sharapova was also victorious in her next two matches at Flushing Meadows against Hungary’s Timea Babos and American Sofia Kenin respectively.
However, she has been criticized during the run by fellow player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Wozniacki questioned the fact that Sharapova was scheduled to play all of her matches at the central court.
“I understand completely the business side of things, but someone who comes back from a drugs sentence and performance-enhancing drugs, and all of a sudden gets to play every single match on center court, I believe is a questionable thing to do,” said the 27-year-old, who was ranked Number Five coming to the tournament.Wozniacki was knocked out of the US Open by another Russian, Ekaterina Makarova, in the Round of 64 [6-2, 6-7, 6-1.
Responding to the criticism at a press conference, Sharapova struck back at the Dane.
“If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I’m happy to play there. That’s not what matters to me,” she said back then.
“All that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. I’m not sure where she [Wozniacki] is.”
Sharapova certainly has a long way to get up to the position she has held before. Talking on her take at the rankings, she told that she has always seen them as a “tricky thing,” but admitted that being on the top of the list has always inspired her.
“You can't take anything away from being No. 1 in the world. That is the goal. The more matches you win, the better chance that you have of getting there.
“I have many more matches to play.”