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Maria Sharapova (photo credit: Twitter/MariaSharapova)

Joel Drucker: Angles & Drop Shots

Agnieszka Radwanska recently penned an article for The Straits Times that revealed much about her state of mind at this stage of her career. Wrote Aga, “By the time I was 18, I was already in the top 30. Looking back on that time, I'm surprised at how I was playing without any pressure. I was just hitting. I would go on centre courts and it was no big deal. I think that's how I improved my ranking so fast in the beginning. Now I know what my opponents must have felt like back then. I have to say, the younger players on Tour right now are dangerous . . . I'm 28 now and I'm more towards the end of my career than the beginning. I'm not going to play tennis like Serena Williams when I'm 36, I know that.

Great front-runners: Interesting data from ATP World Tour reveals the winning percentages of players in the Open era when winning the first set. Here are the top five:

- Novak Djokovic: 96 percent

- Bjorn Borg: 95.5

- Rafael Nadal: 94.5

- Jimmy Connors: 94.3

- John McEnroe: 94.3

Maria Sharapova turns 30 tomorrow. Her 15-month suspension ends next Wednesday – at which point Sharapova will return to competition in Stuttgart at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. For all the commentary generated around Sharapova being granted wild cards into events in Stuttgart, Rome and Madrid, my thought: Do the crime, do the time. She’s paid the price and as I see it, Sharapova should be granted a wild card to any event that wishes to give her one. Unquestionably, any news around Sharapova will trigger dialogue. This happened last week when we merely cited the anniversary of Sharapova’s first clay court title. But rather than reflect on her past, I’m more curious to study her tennis. During Sharapova’s enforced exile, has she improved her serve? Added other technical wrinkles? Experimented with new tactics? Would make my day if on Sharapova’s first service point, just for the heck of it, she served-and-volleyed.

Read more articles by Joel Drucker

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