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Sharapova: Criticism Made Me Sad and Vulnerable

Maria Sharapova says critical comments from fellow players over her doping suspension and subsequent wild cards made her feel "sad and vulnerable."

Promoting her new memoir Unstoppable: My Life So Far, the former world No. 1 told host Trevor Noah of The Daily Show self-belief empowered her to return from a 15-month doping ban.

Watch: King Says McEnroe Has Pursued Serena for 15 Years

“I think on a human level, deep down inside, that’s always tough to hear," Sharapova said of the criticism. "That’s why it took a long time for me to be able to write about it because, as you can imagine, my family and I went through a very difficult time. And I had put this book aside and I didn’t write at all for a long time…

“When this happened, on a human level, it was like you know what, yeah this is really hard. And I’m feeling very sad and vulnerable about it, but that’s okay. There’s a certain element of power that like gets you through those moments.”

The five-time Grand Slam champion said controversy over the US Open awarding her a wild card and placing her matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium did not impact her because she does not make scheduling and wild-card decisions. 

“I’m not the one that makes those decisions,” Sharapova told Noah. “I’m not the one that makes the wild-card decision. I’m not the one that makes the scheduling decision. I said this from the beginning: if you want to put me on the back court, I’ll play on the back court. If I’m in the draw that means that I’m playing. It doesn’t matter where I’m playing."

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was among the players who were critical of Sharapova, who was not awarded wild cards into Roland Garros or Wimbledon, receiving wild cards into the US Open and other events and playing on the US Open's biggest stage.

Sharapova called the criticism "not kind."

“There’s some things that make headlines that you have zero control over," Sharapova told Noah. "That’s the way I see it. I’ve been in the sport for a long time. I understand it very well.

"Of course, when everything happened, when you hear players saying those things, it’s not kind. It makes you feel very lonely. But ultimately I know why I do it. And I still choose to do it. I choose to do it because I know what I can give to the sport.”

Sharapova discussed toppling second-seeded Simona Halep at the US Open, her doping suspension and her rivalry with Serena Williams with the hosts of The View.

Sharapova has received some blow-back for the book's description of the 23-time Grand Slam champion as sporting "thick legs" and "thick arms." She said those words were written from her perspective as a 17-year-old player, who had not yet reached physical maturity herself.

"Everything about (Serena's) presence was intimidating to me," Sharapova said of Williams.

Photo credit: Brisbane International Facebook