Shriver backs Sharapova for slam success


Maria Sharapova may never recover the number one world ranking she once held, but further grand slam titles are within the Russian's reach.

That is the view of former world number three Pam Shriver, who believes Sharapova's suspension - reduced on Tuesday from two years to 15 months - after testing positive for meldonium may not have been all bad news.

Sharapova's absence from the game could have afforded the five-time slam winner an opportunity to address some underlying fitness issues, which Shriver believes will make her a contender for major honours when she makes her comeback next April.

"Do I think she can get to number one again? It might be difficult just because of the amount of tennis," Shriver told Omnisport.

"When you look at what [Angelique] Kerber had to do and how long you have to stay healthy for and how long you have to play.

"What I think is very possible, I think Sharapova can win a major or two again. I think she can certainly contend to win many more majors because I think the career of the athlete now is being extended so far into the 30s that this may have some real positive effects for Maria's body to heal 100 per cent.

"Orthopedically she hadn't been very healthy in the years leading up to this suspension, so if you're trying to look at the bright side she could come back with a stronger, fitter, more rested body and really have a good five years left."