Maria Sharapova made her controversial return from tennis this week at Stuttgart’s WTA tournament following her 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
The former world number one and five-time Grand Slam winner reached the semi-finals before losing 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
The decision to give Sharapova, 30, wild cards to play at Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome have been heavily criticised by her rivals.
Here are five gems from the Russian star’s press conferences this week in Stuttgart:
When asked if she will try and build bridges with her rivals in the locker room:
“To have people say nice things about me in press conferences -? what will that change about my tennis? I can?t control what people say. The only thing I can control is what I do out there.”
When asked if she would accept a wild card to play at the French Open, which she has won twice, with a decision due on May 16:
“I?d play in the juniors if I had to. I?m not getting wildcards to receive a trophy or a golden platter. It?s my job to win matches.”
On being asked a question by a reporter from British tabloid The Sun:
Sharapova: Oh God.
Journalist: Nice to see you, too.
Sharapova: I don?t think The Sun has ever been in Stuttgart, have they?
Journalist: No. It?s nice, it?s fantastic.
Sharapova: First time, wow. Virgins.
When asked if Eugenie Bouchard branding her ‘cheater’ and Mladenovic’s belief that Sharapova should not be getting wild cards would be motivation before Saturday’s semi-final:
“Not at all. I am not someone that uses it as part of my comeback. I have let my tennis do the talking. My results have spoken for everything that needs to be said. The biggest part of my comeback is what happens on court.”
On the news arch rival Serena Williams, who leads the series 19-2 between the pair, is an expectant mother:
“I think it?s one of the greatest gifts that a woman can receive in life, it?s a blessing. It?s a beautiful chapter in her life.”