Maria Sharapova defeated Jelena Ostapenko in the third round at the 2018 US Open. (AP Photo)

Maria Sharapova has had a below average season in 2018. This is only the second year since 2003 that she did not win a single title, the first being in 2016 when she was banned for 15 months.

Reaching the round of 16 at the US Open and quarterfinals at Roland Garros are some of her season highlights. The Russian decided to cut her season short when a right shoulder injury forced her to withdraw from the Asian swing of the season.

While ending their season early has worked for some players, such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it hasn't for others, such as Andy Murray who has yet to break back into the Top 250 after ending his 2017 season early.

A long offseason may do wonders for Sharapova's return in 2019 when she plays in the Shenzhen Open, starting on December 31st. 

Do you think Sharapova will have a big return to the champion's podium in 2019, or is this the beginning of the end of the former world No. 1?