Agent: Sharapova is “worst athlete ever to win a Grand Slam”

(Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images) /

There are many parts to being a fantastic tennis player. One is that a person certainly needs to have basic high-level skills. Some are born with that and some aren’t. But a player can overcome, to some degree, a relative lack of athleticism by having the will to beat other players. This appears to be the case with Maria Sharapova.

Max Eisenbud, who became Sharapova’s agent when the former world number 1 was just 11 years old, said on a recent appearance on The Tennis Podcast that Sharapova is not only a mediocre athlete to ever win a Grand Slam, but that she is the “worst athlete ever” to win a major. But there’s more to Eisenbud’s take on the player than just her physical ability.

Eisenbud said what made Sharapova a great player was that she “was the most mentally strong player to ever play the game.” While no one is claiming that the Russian player is the best player ever, she is a testament to how to succeed if part of your game is lacking. In fact, what separates the truly top-level players from those just hanging outside the top 10 many times is the high-level player‘s ability to be tougher mentally.

Agent for Maria Sharapova says she wasn’t a great athlete but there’s more to the point

This is one reason Novak Djokovic has developed into arguably the best player ever is that he values the mental part of the game. He doesn’t have the best serve in history, and his forehand isn’t the fastest ever, but he doesn’t normally beat himself and many other players do.

Sharapova did have a good serve, and to be fair, she was a good enough athlete to be able to get around the court fairly well even though she is a taller player. But being calm and focused at important moments is one reason she won five Grand Slams, including at least one at every major.

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Eisenbud also said that he was “lucky” to work with Sharapova and that “everything (he has) in (his) career is because of her.” There is clearly no animosity in his comment about her being a not-great athlete. In actuality, the comment was just part of the greater compliment he was giving her.