I have come to associate Maria Sharapova more with the U.S. Open than with any other major. She is, after all, at her best on hard courts, and her 2006 win was stunning from the moment she entered the court for round 1. Her 2008 Australian Open win was stunning, too, but there is something about the glamour of the city--and perhaps that wonderful black dress (the red one was nothing to sneeze at, either)--that causes me to associate Sharapova with New York.
I am really disappointed that she will not be part of this year's Open, especially after her unfortunate third round run-in with Agnieszka Radwanska last year. Her doctors failed to catch a torn rotator cuff tendon, and she played with the injury for months. She is now in rehabilitation, and we look forward to seeing her play later in the season. In the meantime--no matter how exciting the U.S. Open is--it just won't be the same without Maria.