Sharapova eyes Wimbledon success
Having got her hands on the French Open trophy for a second time, Maria Sharapova has set her sights on doing the same at Wimbledon.
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The Russian defeated Simona Halep 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 in a terrific three-hour final in Paris on Saturday to reclaim the title she won for the first time in 2012.
Sharapova will now turn her attention to grass and going all the way at SW19, 10 years after she stunned Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final as a 17-year-old.
At that stage it seemed inconceivable that the Russian big hitter would win more grand slam titles on clay than grass over the next decade, something she acknowledged after defeating Halep.
In the two years after her Wimbledon glory she reached the semi-finals both times, but since then Sharapova has made it past the fourth round just once, in 2011.
On that occasion she made it back to the final only to lose to an inspired Petra Kvitova.
Last year Sharapova joined the raft of big names tumbling out early, literally, when she fell three times in a second-round loss to Michelle Larcher De Brito.
Sharapova said: "I'd love to (win it again). It marked my career and I appreciate that moment so much.
"It came so unexpectedly yet 10 years later to be having five grand slams, to come back and still be playing and still have the energy and the passion to win more, that brings a lot of joy because I want to get better and I want to win more.
"I think my results have been up and down in the last few years based on a few things. I've been to a final again, I've been to a couple of semi-finals, but obviously the goal is to win it again.
"I don't care what my results were in the past. You start from a clean slate, that's how I go into a grand slam.
"I don't think that I've won it before because when you have the mentality that you've won it then it gets boring. You have to go out there hungry for more.
"Even though you always remember those incredible moments of holding that trophy, you've got to try to erase that from your mind because you've got to create new ones."
Sharapova won three slam titles between 2004 and 2008 but her career was then seriously threatened by a shoulder problem that required surgery.
It was not until she won in Paris in 2012 that she was truly back at the top of the game, and she had to deal with another shoulder injury last year, playing only one match after Wimbledon.
"So many things have happened within those 10 years," she said.
"I've gone through a tough injury, I've had to come back. At 21 years old, and if I think of a player at that age having to go through that, that's pretty tough.
"I feel like I was thrown a lot of adversity in my career, I've had to get through all that, and in the middle of it all I've had incredible moments like these; winning all the grand slams, being number one in the world, it's all that a little girl wishes for when she's trying to become a tennis champion."
Nothing sums up Sharapova's work ethic and competitive drive more than her evolution on clay.
The player who once described her movement on the surface as like a "cow on ice" now has a remarkable proportion of her success on it.
"I occasionally still feel like it," she said of her famous quote.
"I take a few tumbles, especially at the beginning of training on clay. You just have to get back up and keep on going.
"It's a very physically challenging surface. There's no way around it and I forced myself to get better on it because otherwise I'd have no chance."