Maria Sharapova, preparing for U.S. Open, describes how doping ban affected her

Embattled tennis star Maria Sharapova, in detailing the emotions surrounding her comeback, writes in a Players’ Tribune essay that “if you love tennis enough, then at the end of the day, it will love you back.”

That’s part of Sharapova’s rallying cry as she tries to get back to hardcourt form ahead of the U.S. Open — her first Grand Slam since returning to the tour in April following a 15-month doping ban.

“There was something unique about this particular time off,” she writes in the essay. “There is something about a suspension — the judgments, and the scrutiny, and the emotional toll — that is just hard to compare to anything else.

“I’m not oblivious. I’m aware of what many of my peers have said about me, and how critical of me some of them have been in the press. If you’re a human being with a normal, beating heart, you know … I don’t think that sort of thing will ever fully be possible to ignore. And I don’t think it will ever not be weird or hurtful to go through.”

The French Open denied Sharapova, a two-time champion in the tournament, a wild-card entry to…

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