Sharapova still smarting from loss to Venus
2005 Wimbledon semifinal setback hurt more than any other defeat
Updated: 3:08 p.m. ET June 24, 2006
LONDON - Maria Sharapova will be even more fired up than usual at this year’s Wimbledon.
The 19-year-old Russian, who won her first and so far only Grand slam title at Wimbledon in 2004, is still smarting from her 6-0, 7-6 semifinal loss to Venus Williams last year.
“The loss last year hurt more than any other loss in my career, honestly
,” Sharapova said Saturday, two days before the start of the grass-court Grand Slam.
“I walked off the court and thought I’d tried to do everything possible to win but she was just better that day.
“That’s just how much this tournament means to me. I won it before and I think I can win it a second time.”
Sharapova suffered a surprise semifinal defeat at the Edgbaston warm-up event and has not reached a Grand Slam final since her shock Wimbledon triumph two years ago.
The fourth seed, who faces Anna Smashnova in the first round, is prepared to be patient.
“I’m not at the peak of my career,” she said. “I don’t feel I can dominate at 19 years old and win every single tournament. My body and mind are just not ready for that at this point.
“Sometimes I look back and wonder how I did win Wimbledon at 17 years old. I was just really fearless out there. I didn’t care who was on the other side of the net. I’ve got to keep doing that.
“Once I get out on court, my game will come into place and I’m looking forward to starting. It’s the biggest tournament of the year for me.”
Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.