”Go Team Jannik”: Maria Sharapova Ecstatic to See Tennis Back Ahead of Australian Open 2021

Published 01/29/2021, 12:44 AM EST
Tennis – A Day at the Drive Exhibition – Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia – January 29, 2021 Italy’s Jannik Sinner reacts during the first match of A Day at The Drive REUTERS/Morgan Sette


She may not be involved with the game anymore, but former Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is still pleased with the return of fans to the sport they love. The five-time Grand Slam champion shared a snatch of an exhibition match between rising Italian star Jannik Sinner and Serbs Filip Krajinovic and Novak Djokovic in Adelaide on Twitter.

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Smiling faces in Adelaide’s stands make Maria Sharapova happy

The match is part of the series of exhibition ties that are to be hosted by the South Australian city in the run-up to the Australian Open.

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More than the sight of Sinner all kitted up and ready to go, it’s the healthy crowd seen in the frame that Sharapova has captured that should give the tennis world a lot of reasons to cheer.

The game has been shorn of spectators owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the players confined to a bubble that effectively limits their movements to their designated hotels and practice courts, the fun seemed to have gone out of tennis.

However, the return of crowds to the Adelaide event is as much a sign of things to come as it is an affirmation that a semblance of normality is slowly but surely being restored to the game.

Tennis – A Day at the Drive Exhibition – Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia – January 29, 2021 Italy’s Jannik Sinner enters the court at A Day at the Drive REUTERS/Morgan Sette

Sharapova tweets image of Jannik Sinner match against Krajinovic

As her tweet makes it amply clear, the two-time French Open champion is pleased as punch to see crowds swarming to the stands.

She tagged her post with a message that reads, “This makes me so happy! The sport back with fans sitting together. You can see their smiles too (emoji) and yes go Team Jannik (emoji).”

The event is a relief for players who had been largely indoors, barring the five hours of practice every day, during the mandatory two-week quarantine period.

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As part of a directive passed down by the government of Victoria to ensure designated hotels in Melbourne don’t book beyond capacity, Tennis Australia had decided to host 50 players in Adelaide before the Grand Slam opens.

These players include the top-three from the men’s and women’s fields.

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The likes of Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, and women’s World Number 1 Ashleigh Barty are also taking part in the Day at the Drive event.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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