Maria Sharapova says she is 'above' Eugenie Bouchard's comments, looking forward to next match at Stuttgart Open

Bryan Rodrigues
Maria Sharapova, Maria Sharapova news, Eugenie Bouchard, Sharapova on Bouchard's comments, Stuttgart Open 2017, Anett Kontaveit

Maria Sharapova's return to tennis after a 15-month ban could not have gone any better. The former world no.1 returned to tennis at the Stuttgart Open and eased past her first two opponents, Roberta Vinci and fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Since returning to the tennis court, Sharapova has been receiving a lot of criticism from fellow tennis players after she received a wild card entry into the Stuttgart Open.

Also read: Watch Video: Eugenie Bouchard critical of Maria Sharapova's comeback

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Her first round opponent Vinci said that Sharapova is a great player but she should return without being given a wild card. Eugenie Bouchard went all the way and called her "a cheater" and that "a cheater in any sport should not be allowed to play again", adding she was "not someone I can say I look up to anymore".

Following her win over Makarova, Sharapova was asked about what she thought about Bouchard's comments and she said: "I don't have anything to say - I am way above that."

The Russian clearly does not care what her fellow tennis players are saying about her and is just letting her game do the talking. She is targeting a return to the three Grand Slam tournaments left in 2017 and if she continues to play the way she is right now, she could make it.

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Check out what Maria Sharapova had to say after her win against Ekaterina Makarova and her reply to Eugenie Bouchard's comments.   

Sharapova's two victories at the Stuttgart Open have already ensured that she will be back in the top 400 in the ATP rankings, which is edging her closer to getting a direct entry into Wimbledon. A strong performance at Madrid and Rome could guarantee her enough points and if she were to reach the finals of the Stuttgart Open, she could gain entry into French Open qualifying without the need for a wild card.

Despite all the attention and criticism Sharapova has received in the last few months, she has not let that affect her game. The Russian is just relishing being back on the tennis court and wants to put the ban behind her.

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She is set to face Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the next round as she looks to reach the semi-finals in her first tournament following the comeback.

"There is nothing like being at a tournament. I felt pretty good, the adrenaline and the challenge of each opponent is exciting. I'm already visualising the match before I play and it's a great feeling to have," Herald Sun quoted Sharapova as saying.

"You forget anything you feel in your body, despite not playing for 15 months. I am past 'the lessons', I have done numerous interviews about the case and this is a new chapter in my career and that's how I want to move forward," she said.