Maria Sharapova hopes that a strong showing this year in the upcoming clay court season will help heal the disappointment of losing her second-straight final on hard courts.
Maria Sharapova says she hopes to put the disappointment of losing her second-straight final on hard courts behind her with a strong showing this year in the upcoming clay court season.
"I feel like I've improved with every year that I have been playing on it (clay) and I enjoy it," said Sharapova, after losing 7-5, 6-4 in the Miami final on Saturday to fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
"I feel like you learn so much about the construction of the points and the games - such a cat-and-mouse game.
"I didn't necessarily like that many years back, but I feel like I'm much better at it and I have improved physically as well."
Maria Sharapova wants to put her defeat in the Miami final behind her. Pic/AFP
The 24-year-old Sharapova is now a four-time runner-up in Miami, having lost in the final back-to-back years twice, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.
She has also lost in all three of her finals in 2012, falling twice to world number one Victoria Azarenka (Indian Wells and Australian Open) and now to Radwanska in straight sets.
"It's only 30 minutes after you lose, so it is not the easiest thing in the world," Sharapova said.
"But, these last two tournaments are always the toughest just because they're so close together and playing six matches in an event.
"I'm looking forward to taking a little break now and getting on the clay and starting the practice."
Sharapova has a 30-9 career record at the French Open, the next Grand Slam tournament of the season, with her best result being two semi-final appearances, last year and in 2007.
Shoulder and elbow injuries prevented Sharapova from playing in Miami for three years, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
But she says the right shoulder problem that gave her so much trouble in the past is behind her now.
"My shoulder feels really good," she said. "I'm really happy that I got over that injury."