Sharapova seeks redemption on Roland Garros clay

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PARIS (Reuters) – When Maria Sharapova final performed the French Open in 2015, she did in order defending champion.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – Could 15, 2018 Russia’s Maria Sharapova in motion throughout her first spherical match towards Australia’s Ashleigh Barty REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Picture

Denied a wildcard by Roland Garros organizers final yr on her return from a 15-month doping ban, the Russian was dogged by damage and controversy as she tried to get her profession again on observe.

Now 31, it might have been comprehensible had the five-times grand slam winner hung up her rackets to give attention to her ever increasing enterprise empire.

Not Sharapova, one of many recreation’s hardest rivals.

“That’s why I nonetheless proceed to do that, as a result of I’ve that keenness of figuring issues out and getting it carried out, whether or not it’s a troublesome day, or whether or not it’s an incredible day,” Sharapova stated in a cellphone interview earlier this yr.

Though Sharapova was the world’s top-paid feminine athlete for greater than a decade and has earned near $300 million on and off the courtroom based on FORBES, nothing comes near competing for the game’s largest prizes.

“You might be very a lot within the second,” stated Sharapova, a three-times finalist in Paris. “Your crew simply palms you over, actually on to the stage, onto your universe for the following hour, hour-and-a-half, two or three, and you must discover a technique to ship.

“Every thing that you just put into it beforehand, you must pour out onto the courtroom, each concern that you just’ve confronted earlier than, you must carry out onto the courtroom. It’s a must to be highly effective, however but you must deal with being weak at moments when issues don’t go your method.”

STRUGGLE FOR FORM

Having ended 2017 outdoors the highest 50, Sharapova endured one of many worst durations of her profession as she misplaced 4 straight matches.

In March, she ended a four-year spell with Dutchman Sven Groeneveld and introduced again her former coach from Sweden, Thomas Hogstedt, with whom she gained her first French Open title in 2012 as she accomplished the profession grand slam.

Now, after sturdy performances in Madrid and Rome this month, Sharapova is again among the many seeds and starting to consider that she will win the title for a 3rd time.

Lastly absolutely match, Sharapova reached the quarter-finals in Madrid and beat reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to achieve the semi-finals in Rome, an enormous enhance of confidence as she returns to the scene of her most profitable grand slam.

After shedding a detailed three-set match to world primary Simona Halep in Rome, Sharapova known as her progress “a step in the best path”.

“After shedding these matches, you continue to must put your self on the road and present up and ship, and do it with authority,” she instructed reporters at Rome’s Foro Italico.

“What I’m most pleased with is (that) I had a whole lot of alternatives in the previous few weeks in Madrid and right here to only again down, to let little issues hassle me. However I acquired by way of them.

“I arrange actual good conditions for myself; a whole lot of courtroom time and match play. All good issues that I wished.”

Enhancing by Christian Radnedge

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