MADRID, Spain - Svetlana Kuznetsova says the game's top players are ready to move on after months and weeks of speculation surrounding Maria Sharapova's return to the tour.
The two-time major champion spoke to reporters after booking a spot in the quarterfinals of this week's Mutua Madrid Open, and was asked whether she agreed with Eugenie Bouchard's comments from earlier in the week that Sharapova's return to the tour after a 15-month suspension for an anti-doping violation remained a divisive issue in the locker room.
After beating Sharapova in the second round in Madrid, Bouchard told reporters that players wished her good luck before her highly-anticipated match against the former No.1 on Monday.
"Actually, first of all, I didn't see Genie talking to players. I mean, Genie doesn't talk much. That's the way she is. She just goes, does her own thing. I think she also changes in different locker rooms (seeded and unseeded players are assigned separate locker rooms in Madrid). So I didn't even see her. I think I see her maybe once overall."
"I don't think the players, at our locker room where I change, nobody talks about it. Like everybody is over it, you know? We have been asked so many times, Maria, Maria.
"I'm happy she's back. I'm happy she's playing. I'm happy she's doing great. I think the topic is already out. It's been too much of talk. I think she just has to have her time and her comfort zone to work on her things and do.
"We should also play our game and not kind of talk about it."
Kuznetsova's comments mirrored Simona Halep's thoughts from a day earlier. "[Sharapova is] back. I'm not thinking [about it] that much, because many players are difficult in this level of tennis, the highest level of tennis. For me it's the same if Maria is here, if Maria is not here. I don't feel extra motivated."
Kuznetsova said she did watch some of Monday night's match, which saw Bouchard put forth her best performance in years to oust Sharapova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a grueling match that lasted nearly three hours.
"I cannot really give a good thought because I have to see the full match. I didn't. I think I was playing doubles or something.
"I think they both were hitting the ball very hard, stepping up. But I don't think Maria still, is getting all her game back, but she's doing much better. But for me, she was playing better in Stuttgart.
"And Genie, definitely she's playing much better than past months."
Kuznetsova plays Bouchard in the quarterfinals, and offered a follow-up to her thoughts on Twitter: