Maria Sharapova disposed of fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0 on Monday night. The match took just 90 minutes, which probably didn't make it much different than Sharapova's other nine U.S. Open first-round victories.
But what Sharapova said afterwards might make the night a bit more memorable. The 27-year-old, who won the 2006 U.S. Open, was The 27-year-old was asked what she would change in the sport of tennis, if anything.
"I'd probably start charging for medical timeouts," Sharapova said with a smile. "I think we'd all see who really uses them and who doesn't. Yeah, I don't know what we put on it, maybe like $2,500 or something. Yeah, I think we should do that. That would be fun."
The issue of medical timeouts is an ongoing saga in tennis. In her last match before the U.S. Open, Sharapova was annoyed when Ana Ivanovic used one. Ivanovic said she was nauseous. But Sharapova questioned why Ivanovic needed her blood pressure checked as well as the timing, which came early in the third set. Ivanovic ended up winning.
Players have the ability to call out trainers to repair injuries, although, some individuals are criticized for using the timeouts as extra forms of rest. In doing so, players can also "ice" their opposition.
Sharapova recognized many of timeouts are necessary, but there is no doubt they can throw off a competitor's game.
"Sometimes they're shorter than others," she said. "Sometimes they don't go through the whole medical timeout. Sometimes the evaluation itself is longer than the three-minute timeout. Sometime it's an off-court medical, which is even longer. I think from my end, it's just a matter of keeping that focus, not sitting down for that whole time, moving a little bit, swinging, maybe hitting a few serves if it's a longer one."
As Sharapova was pressed for her reasoning for such comments, she insisted she is not accusing anyone of unleashing a medical timeout attack at her, although her match with Ivanovic might suggest otherwise. She said she is annoyed more at the general distraction rather than the opponent's motive.
"It's actually never bothered me because I've always recovered from it positively," she said. "I don't remember many times where it's affected me too much. I've never felt like a victim of it."
Charging money for timeouts, or at least the amount Sharapova proposed, might not be a deterrent for the bigger stars on the tour. For reference, Sharapova has nearly $31 million in prize money. That is second in all-time career earnings behind Serena Williams ($56 million) and just ahead of Venus Williams (approximately $30 million).
But for a player like 20-year-old 2014 NCAA champion Danielle Rose Collins, who lost a three-set match to second-seeded Simona Halep on Monday, the cost would be steeper. Collins has $4,964 in career earnings. This would make medical timeouts a luxury.
Sharavopa, the No. 5 seed is back in action Wednesday against Alexandra Dulgheru, the 95th-ranked player in the world from Romania. The 25-year-old has $1.3 million in career earnings, so if Dulgheru had to pay, she might be up for the wager.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.