View Full Version : Sharapova eyes top spot with Roland Garros

May 21st, 2005, 12:27 AM

Foiled in her bid to become world number one twice in the last month, Maria Sharapova will again gun for top spot next week and at the same time target a second grand slam crown.

The Wimbledon champion enters Roland Garros as a favorite for the women's title after an impressive start to the year in which she has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and landed titles in Tokyo and Doha
Her claycourt preparation has been steady if not spectacular with a quarter-final showing in Berlin and a semi-final berth in Rome and the Russian world number two feels her claycourt game is coming together at just the right time.

"I think I've had a pretty good preparation," the 18-year-old said last week. "You know, I'd rather play well — play better at a grand slam (than at the warm-up events) and just learn the things I need to work on and keep working on them the next week… hopefully (I will) be fresh and ready for Roland Garros."

The willowy Russian said she had been improving her stamina with one eye on the grueling claycourt grand slam.

"This is not an overnight process. I'm not going to change overnight and all of a sudden be Superman and win everything," she smiled.

"But I think I'm a lot better than I was last year in the claycourt season, and that's an improvement. And little by little…"


Last year she fell in the quarter-finals but that was before she took the tennis world by storm with a spectacular victory at Wimbledon.

Sharapova can expect to be seeded second by the French organizers, behind world number one Lindsay Davenport, and will fancy her chances of success — certainly more so than compatriot and defending champion Anastasia Myskina.

Myskina has been struggling with a nagging shoulder injury which cast doubt over her participation in Paris. Earlier this week she said she would attempt to defend her crown but her coach Jens Gerlach knows it is not just her shoulder which needs fixing.

"She's not the type of person who makes excuses for anything," Gerlach told Reuters, adding that she also needed to rediscover her inner fire.

"She's been a champion and knows how to dig deep like a champion," he said. "If she gets to Paris and wins a couple of good matches, maybe she'll feel the magic of Roland Garros again."
Former champion Justine Henin-Hardenne also hopes to feel the magic of Roland Garros.

"The French Open is something very special for me. I did my best there, I did my worst there," she said last week.

"We'll see what 2005 is going to bring. But I have done a very good job in the last few weeks and I hope I can keep doing that."


The Belgian won three straight claycourt events leading up to the French Open and one of her victims, Swiss Patty Schnyder, is in no doubt that she will be the player to beat.

"If she plays on like this, she will win everything against everybody everywhere," Schnyder said. "She is favorite for Roland Garros."

Serena Williams will almost certainly have something to say about that. The American was champion in Paris in 2002 and looks to have rediscovered her golden touch at the slams with triumph in Australia at the beginning of the year.

Former world number one Kim Clijsters was traveling to Paris in the hope of competing next week despite injuring her right knee in Berlin earlier this month.

The Belgian, runner-up at Roland Garros in 2003 and 2001, missed most of last season with a wrist injury and is desperate to compete at the top level again.

"Should I be able to make it I'll start the tournament but without taking any unnecessary risks," Clijsters said.

May 21st, 2005, 12:29 AM
fingers crossed for Masha...... :hearts:

May 21st, 2005, 01:08 AM
Her draw is tough with Justine and Kuzzy in her quarter I believe. That will be tough on clay..I wish her the best of luck.

May 21st, 2005, 01:32 AM
You can do it Masha i quarter final would be great anything after that is a bonus