WATCH: Sharapova inspires women at conference ahead of tennis return

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The five-time Grand Slam champion, who was banned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after testing positive for meldonium last year, is closing in on her return to the court and is due to play at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, beginning April 26.

And ahead of her comeback, Sharapova joined Billie Jean King, Aly Raisman and Lexi Thompson to talk at the second annual ANA Inspiring Women in Sports conference - before the LPGA’s first golf major of the year, the ANA Inspiration.

Legend Billie Jean, Sharapova, three-time Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Raisman and ANA Inspiration champion Thompson also briefly traded golf swings for tennis strokes on the 18th hole before sharing their inspiring stories to a sell-out audience at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

WATCH THE ACTION AND INTERVIEW ABOVE.



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Down the line: Should the WTA rethink on-court coaching? Davenport thinks so

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Muguruza and Sumyk.

We’re halfway through the Miami Open and we’ve already seen everything from iguana court invasions to awkward fights during on-court coaching visits in the WTA matches.

Garbine Muguruza’s exchange with her coach Sam Sumyk during the Spaniard’s second round encounter with Christina McHale made headlines worldwide and prompted ex-world No1 and current TV pundit Lindsay Davenport, who coaches Madison Keys, to suggest that mic’ed up on-court coaching visits needed rethinking.

A frustrated Muguruza had apparently directed some ill-advised comments towards Sumyk during the clash and when the Frenchman came on court later for a coaching visit, he told her “don’t tell me to shut the f*** up ever again.”

Muguruza appeared almost in tears while she apologised to Sumyk, and to many, it made for some uncomfortable viewing.

Sumyk actually tried to muffle the sound coming out of the microphone so no one would hear the conversation when it got tense, but we could still hear parts of the exchange.


When on-court coaching – which is only allowed in WTA matches, and not on the ATP or ITF – was introduced in 2008, it gave fans a new and unique viewing experience, bringing more insight into a player’s psyche during a match.

While it continues to draw lots of criticism, primarily because tennis is meant to be a contest between two individuals, relying solely on themselves, it also has its supporters amongst the WTA following.

We’ve seen the dialogue get quite tense between players and their coaches at times.

But we’ve also seen the brilliance of the likes of Davenport, while talking to her charge, Keys, and hilarious moments like when Madison Brengle told her coach Nicole Melichar, while she was defeating Serena Williams in Auckland, “I think she’s surprised at how bad I am”.

Granted, having that kind of unfiltered access to a conversation between a coach and a player is not too common in individual sport. Some people brand it as “intrusive”, but I personally enjoy it immensely and find it very insightful. Why have on-court coaching if we can’t listen to what they’re saying?

Things might get awkward sometimes but how often does that happen?

I’m all for anything that adds personality to the sport and this definitely achieves that.

MIAMI TALKING POINTS

What’s going on with Aga?

Agnieszka Radwanska has slipped to No8 in the world and has not won back-to-back matches this year since Sydney, which was in the second week of January. Her latest setback was a straight-sets drubbing to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, in which she could only muster winning three games. With the rise of Karolina Pliskova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elina Svitolina and others, Radwanska must up her game is she wants to stick around in the top-10.

Is Miami leaving Crandon Park?

The Miami Open lost their appeal to get permission for expanding the host venue, Crandon Park, and the facilities have been in dire need for an upgrade for some time now. Players and journalists have complained about the venue and it’s looking likely that the tournament will relocate for the first time since 1987. Players were asked about their thoughts on the matter this week and it looks like the response is: As long as it stays in Miami, we’re happy if it moves!

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Nadal joins 1,000 matches club but where does Rafa rank?

Sport360 staff 27/03/2017

Rafael Nadal came back from an awful first set to defeat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 and advance to the fourth round of the Miami Open on Sunday.

It was the 1,000th ATP match of the Spaniard's stellar career and of the ten other players to have reached and gone beyond that landmark - Nadal has the highest winning percentage at 82.19%.

Here's a breakdown of the players that have played the most singles matches in men's tennis history, as well as their overall win-loss record and winning percentage.

Nadal, Roger Federer and David Ferrer are the only three players who are still active in the list. Nadal creeps into the 1,000 club at No.11 - what do you make of of the stats? Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook. 11 Rafael Nadal Matches Played: 1,000 Win-Loss record: 822-178 Win percentage: 82.19% 10) Brian Gottfried Matches Played: 1,004 Win-Loss record: 680–324 Win percentage: 67.73% 9) David Ferrer Matches Played: 1,034 Win-Loss record: 696-338 Win percentage: 67.31% 8) Stefan Edberg Matches Played: 1,071 Win-Loss record: 801-270 Win percentage: 74.79% 7) John McEnroe Matches Played: 1,075 Win-Loss record: 877-198 Win percentage: 81.58% 6) Ilie Nastase Matches Played: 1,085 Win-Loss record: 780-305 Win percentage: 71.89% 5) Andre Agassi Matches Played: 1,144 Win-Loss record: 870-274 Win percentage: 76.05% 4) Guillermo Vilas Matches Played: 1,215 Win-Loss record: 929-286 Win percentage: 76.46% 3) Ivan Lendl Matches Played: 1,310 Win-Loss record: 1,068-242 Win percentage: 81.52% 2) Roger Federer Matches Played: 1,340 Win-Loss record: 1,094-246 Win percentage: 81.79% 1) Jimmy Connors Matches Played: 1,535 Win-Loss record: 1,256-279 Win percentage: 81.82%

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