Maria Sharapova comforts injured 17-year-old opponent on court during Shenzhen Open
Maria Sharapova showed her caring side in Shenzhen on Wednesday as she consoled her 17-year-old opponent who was forced to retire.
The Russian was down 6-7 (4-7) 5-2 to Chinese hotshot Wang Xinyu but the teenage sensation had to call it a day after an hour and 47 minutes of play due to cramping.
Sharapova clearly felt for Wang as she threw the towel in and went over to sit by her as she received medical treatment to offer some words of encouragement.
You played unbelievable, ok? Unbelievable, the five-time Grand Slam champion said. Take care of yourself. If you play like that youre going to be number one, I promise.
After the match, Sharapova continued to praise the youngster in her press conference.
Obviously, its a tough situation, the former world No. 1 said. Its not the way either of us wants to finish the match, win or lose.
I thought [Wang] was absolutely the dominant player in this match, and had all the opportunities to win it, even though I felt like I was finding my stride and getting a little bit closer to the line and being more aggressive.
She has all the tools to play well, and I think she showcased that, and its obviously a very unfortunate way to end the match.
I said [to her] that being healthy is the most important thing, but if she continues to play the way that she did today, I think she has all the right tools to be a champion.
Sharapova will face another stern test in the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open against Belarus talented 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka.