Maria Sharapova said her French Open triumph was a greater achievement than her teenage 2004 Wimbledon breakthrough which launched her on the road to international fame and fortune.
The Russian, one of the few genuine stars in the women’s game, completed a career Grand Slam by beating Italy’s Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.
It was the 25-year-old’s first Roland Garros title and fourth major of her career, but first since she recovered from a potentially career-ending shoulder injury.
“It’s the most unique, surreal moment. I never thought I would have it. When I won Wimbledon at 17, I thought that would be the most cherished moment of my career,” she said.
“But when I fell to me knees today on the court I realised that winning here was extremely special, even more so.”
Sharapova added the 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open titles to her 2004 win at Wimbledon before the shoulder injury sidelined her for 10 months, sending her ranking spiralling to 126 in the world. But titles on clay in Stuttgart and Rome in the run-up to Paris transformed her into one of the favourites for the Paris title which she achieved with a 6-3, 6-2 win over the out-gunned Errani in just 90 minutes.
Sharapova now believes there are many more majors coming her way. “It’s been a long journey, I started from such a young age, but I’m not done yet, far from it,” she said.
“I have a lot more to achieve, I always believed in my game and that I could get better on grass, clay, cement.”
Sharapova is runner-up?
In a momentary goof-up at the post-final presentation ceremony on Saturday, Sharapova was introduced as the French Open runner-up. Sharapova looked stunned and then smiled as the announcer said: “Ladies and gentlemen, the runner-up Maria Sharapova.” Amid jeers and whistles from the crowdt, a correction was quickly issued by the red-faced official. — Agencies