BOTTOM LINE – Winning percentage: 89% (32-4)
That’s the highest winning percentage on tour this year, and it certainly looked like 2008 would be Maria Sharapova’s year, given the way she started out. The Russian won her first 18 matches of the season and played dazzling tennis at the Australian Open to capture her third Grand Slam event crown.
But at Indian Wells in March, Sharapova essentially ruined her season by tweaking her shoulder while reaching for a backhand. She struggled her way to the title at Amelia Island, but erratic play cost her dearly at the French Open and Wimbledon, where she lost in the fourth and second rounds, respectively.
After discovering in July that her shoulder injury had gone misdiagnosed for months and was in fact a torn rotator cuff, Sharapova withdrew from the Olympics and eventually announced that her season was over.
If the rehab goes well and she begins 2009 fully recovered – a big “if,” considering that some insiders wonder if her injury is career-threatening – expect Sharapova to be right back in the mix at the top of the game.
To-Do List: Get healthy