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goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:09 AM
INTERVIEW - Sharapova sets sights on French Open
Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:21 PM ISThttp://i.today.reuters.com/images/spacer.gif

TOKYO (Reuters) - What do you give a woman who is flying high on top of the world? If that woman is Maria Sharapova, it would be a French Open crown.
With Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles already tucked away in her locker, the Russian world number one is targeting victory in Paris this year following her return to the top of the rankings this week.
"Probably one of the biggest challenges is going to be the French for me," the 19-year-old told Reuters on Tuesday. "It's a challenge I'm really looking forward to."
"I had a terrible claycourt season last year because of injury. I shouldn't even have been at the French Open, but I tried.
"But I feel like I can do it this year. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Sharapova, in Tokyo for this week's Pan Pacific Open tournament, lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year after two months out with a foot injury.
She finished 2006 by winning a first U.S. Open title and has just replaced Belgium's Justine Henin at the top of the WTA rankings despite her 6-1 6-2 thrashing by Serena Williams in the Australian Open final at the weekend.
"Second time around it's a little different," shrugged Sharapova, who first reached the summit of the women's game in August 2005.
"When you first become number one it's more of a thrill and you sort of think about it a little more. But it's not something I worry about too much."
"Obviously it's very important and it's a dream for every young girl and boy practising and growing up," she added.
"I think when you've already been there... all you try to do is win matches and the more you win, the better situation you're going to be in to stay number one."
BRUISING DEFEAT
Her bruising defeat to Williams in Melbourne may have taken some of the gloss off her return to the top of the rankings, but Sharapova dismissed it as a bad day at the office.
"There are going to be a lot of days in my career like that where it's going to be an off day for me and you're going to run into someone playing their best tennis," she said.
"That was just one of those days. Losing is never fun but it's part of what I do. I'm not always going to be winning."
Since destroying Williams to win the 2004 Wimbledon final as a 17-year-old, Sharapova has been the biggest draw in the women's game.
"On a daily basis I get random reminders of what I've achieved and you look back and think how quick everything has happened," she said in an interview arranged by WTA Tour sponsors Sony Ericsson.
"Last year I came to Tokyo and I remember people asking me if I was going to win another slam. It was kind of funny because I just came from losing to Justine in three (sets) in the semi-finals in Australia."
Sharapova added: "I said 'It's going to take time, it's going to take time'. Then I won the U.S. Open and I just got to the final of another one (grand slam). There's always going to be your moments to shine."

http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=sportsNews&storyID=2007-01-30T121419Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_India-285574-1.xml

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:13 AM
Sharapova entered Charleston, a green clay event she hasn't played since 2003

http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/Stories.aspx?section=localnews&tableId=128703&pubDate=1/30/2007

Andy.
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:19 AM
Sharapova entered Charleston, a green clay event she hasn't played since 2003

http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/Stories.aspx?section=localnews&tableId=128703&pubDate=1/30/2007
WOW :eek: Thats a big suprise

Sharapova's_Boy
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:22 AM
Masha :hearts:

:eek: @ her playing Charleston.

bellascarlett
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:25 AM
:lol: at the reactions....:eek: :eek: right?!

Good decision Masha. But I also think it's preparation for Fed Cup which is said to be played on clay.

random fan
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:27 AM
Holly Sh!t @ Charlestone

random fan
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:29 AM
:lol: at the reactions....:eek: :eek: right?!

Good decision Masha. But I also think it's preparation for Fed Cup which is said to be played on clay.

Yeah but isn't a change from green clay court to red clay court should be avoided if possible? Fed Cup tie will be at red clay!

Adal
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:31 AM
OMG :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: @ Charleston :lol:

saki
Jan 30th, 2007, 11:34 AM
Charleston doesn't suprise me that much. Maria's schedule is built around playing as many Tier Is as possible. Lindsay always did great on the green clay, Maria's probably thinking that she might too.

itzhak
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:12 PM
They did not decided yet in what kind of surface they will play in Moscow....

bellascarlett
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:15 PM
They did not decided yet in what kind of surface they will play in Moscow....

I heard though from someone that most of the players asked for the tie to be played on clay so as to prepare for the french open. with maria entering right before fedcup, it seems more possible.

LudwigDvorak
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:20 PM
Another big name I probably won't be able to see this year. Sucks. I still can't believe a Tier I is in goddamn South Carolina.

Shimizu Amon
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:29 PM
Oh my Masha is really taking this seriously. That's great to hear but like she said so herself it's one of the biggest challenges Masha will face throughout her career.

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:39 PM
I haven't been looking at Sharapova's website. Does she list her tournaments?
She must have known she was entering a green clay event.

Emina.
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:45 PM
Maria will play the following tournaments in the first half of 2007:

January 3-6
Watsons Water Challenge - Hong Kong
Exhibition - Hardcourts

January 15-28
Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia
Grand Slam - Rebound Ace

January 29-February 4
Toray Pan Pacific Open - Tokyo, Japan
Tier 1 - Indoors

February 19-25
Dubai Tennis Championships - Dubai, UAE
Tier 2 - Hardcourts

March 5-18
Pacific Life Open, Indian Wells, USA
Tier 1 - Hardcourts

March 21-April 1
Sony Ericsson Open - Miami, USA
Tier 1 - Hardcourts

April 21-22
Fed Cup vs Spain - Moscow, Russia

May 14-20
Internazionali d'Italia - Rome, Italy
Tier 1 - Clay

May 27-June 10
Roland Garros - Paris, France
Grand Slam - Clay

June 25-July 8
Wimbledon, London, Great Britain
Grand Slam - Grass

-----------------------

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:50 PM
Okay, then she just added Charleston. That's a heavy schedule for her from IW to RG.

Emina.
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:54 PM
:) yeah,shes a very strong,ambitious and hard-working girl,i'm happy to see her positive attitude...to think some experts stated she will not bounce back soon :tape:

bellascarlett
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:55 PM
Okay, then she just added Charleston. That's a heavy schedule for her from IW to RG.

Yup, it was never in her schedule before.

Tenis Srbija
Jan 30th, 2007, 12:55 PM
:lol:

Maybe I can pitch in, and we (me and Masha) can take mixed doubles title :hatoff:

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 01:22 PM
Usually Sharapova takes a break after Miami.
This is quite a change.

bellascarlett
Jan 30th, 2007, 01:46 PM
She takes about a month off for her birthday. But then Fed Cup came along. So the Charleston addition is pretty good.

the cat
Jan 30th, 2007, 01:55 PM
She takes about a month off for her birthday. But then Fed Cup came along. So the Charleston addition is pretty good.

That's some long birthday for Maria, bella. :bdaycake: :aparty: ;)

I'm pleased Masha is playing a green clay event. Doing well in Charleston would boost her confidence heading into the red clay season. But I'm worried about Maria playing too much tennis before the French Open and Wimbledon. :scared: :(

P_Fer
Jan 30th, 2007, 02:09 PM
I'm happy that she's able to play more then 1 clay court event this year

xan
Jan 30th, 2007, 02:15 PM
Hmm. I'm surprised at Charleston, but it may be a good idea, if she's not too tired. I'm sure Maria seriously wants to win all four slams, so clay practice will have its part to play.

Porcupine
Jan 30th, 2007, 02:47 PM
Maybe Maria wants to get use to clay surface before Fed Cup and it's can be good for RG as well, imo.
Charleston hah? I'm a lil surprised, she hasnt played there since 2003 :eek:

Wannabeknowitall
Jan 30th, 2007, 02:53 PM
Unless Russia is playing Fed Cup on clay this is a very meek schedule for someone who considers winning the French Open a reachable goal.
She would get about 10 days off between Miami and Charleston if she makes the final.
Another 5 days between Charleston and FED CUP if she makes the final.
Two weeks off between FED CUP and Rome and a week off between the French Open.
It's not that aggressive of a schedule.
She's going to need to play Justine on clay again before the French Open to understand what she's getting herself into.
If she's not going to play Charleston, she's really advoiding Justine and that's not a great idea.
She'll have a better chance on the faster green clay.

http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=279987&page=2&highlight=Sharapova+schedule

I'm very excited that Sharapova is playing Charleston and is serious about making this run on clay.
I believe she's giving herself the best chance to do well at the French Open.

Oh and MightyMashaFan,
Told Ya So, Told Ya So, Told Ya, Told Ya So. :)

RenaSlam.
Jan 30th, 2007, 03:37 PM
:lol: @ Maria winning the FO.

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 03:52 PM
No one saw her winning Wimbledon at 17 and 2 months.
Then she thrashed Serena, and voila, a Wimbledon champ at 17.

sfselesfan
Jan 30th, 2007, 03:55 PM
Charleston is probably paying her big bucks to come play there.

SF

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 03:56 PM
Everyone she plays they're throwing money at her. Not just Charleston.

RenaSlam.
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:00 PM
No one saw her winning Wimbledon at 17 and 2 months.
Then she thrashed Serena, and voila, a Wimbledon champ at 17.

Wimbledon isn't the same as the FO. Clay baby, clay. :worship:

Maria does not move well enough to really succeed on clay, she can get to a lot of balls side to side because of her reach, but she is not by any means a natural mover going forward. It will be tough for her.

Nicolás89
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:05 PM
maria playing charleston, good choice i know that green clay is a litle bit faster than normal clay

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:10 PM
There's no secret to clay on the women's tour. On the men's tour, you need to be steady.
Sharapova was injured before the FO last year. In 2005, she lost to Justine, right after Justine faced 2 mp's against Sveta. If Sveta wins one of those points, Maria has to beat Sveta, Nadia and Pierce to win RG.
That's well within her scope.
If the RG draw opens up, Maria certainly has a big chance.

RenaSlam.
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:17 PM
There's no secret to clay on the women's tour. On the men's tour, you need to be steady.
Sharapova was injured before the FO last year. In 2005, she lost to Justine, right after Justine faced 2 mp's against Sveta. If Sveta wins one of those points, Maria has to beat Sveta, Nadia and Pierce to win RG.
That's well within her scope.
If the RG draw opens up, Maria certainly has a big chance.

You are right, it depends on her draw...she could face a dangerous floater VERY early and go out in one of the earlier rounds, but usually she fights through those type of matches.

Wannabeknowitall
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:19 PM
Wimbledon isn't the same as the FO. Clay baby, clay. :worship:

Maria does not move well enough to really succeed on clay, she can get to a lot of balls side to side because of her reach, but she is not by any means a natural mover going forward. It will be tough for her.

I've believed Maria has the game to win the French Open for years now.
Maria has been moving better and better every year.
I remember watching Maria play Daniela at Wimbledon in 2004.
She moved maybe a half step better than Daniela.
Now Sharapova moves as good as Mauresmo.

Sure she isn't a natural mover going forward.
Problem is the only player who will really take advantage of that is Martina Hingis.

If the UEs are low like they were at the US Open final and she hangs in points, she has a good chance.
It's just like Mary Pierce, the clay gives her a chance to stay in points because she can get to more balls and her consistently heavy balls take a beating on the opponents.

akosiirwyn
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:35 PM
I think it's good for her to enter Charleston to help her improve her movement on clay.

Shoulderpova
Jan 30th, 2007, 05:37 PM
shes trying to get her first clay court title. Thats good to hear. Hopefully that would be RG :devil:

améliemomo
Jan 30th, 2007, 05:59 PM
Humm.. good luck because playing dubai,indian wells,Miami is "too much" then charleston,she has many points to defend on americans tier1.It will be very difficult.

améliemomo
Jan 30th, 2007, 06:03 PM
Now Sharapova moves as good as Mauresmo.




:eek:

Quest ce qu il fo pas entendre:lol:

sorry but sharapova improved her physical shape but she is far from amélie yet.

Yes she wants to win french open but dont think she has keys to it,not for now.Many players are better than her on clay.She is not a natural clay player like henin ,kuznetsova or mauresmo are.

RenaSlam.
Jan 30th, 2007, 06:30 PM
I've believed Maria has the game to win the French Open for years now.
Maria has been moving better and better every year.
I remember watching Maria play Daniela at Wimbledon in 2004.
She moved maybe a half step better than Daniela.
Now Sharapova moves as good as Mauresmo.

Sure she isn't a natural mover going forward.
Problem is the only player who will really take advantage of that is Martina Hingis.

If the UEs are low like they were at the US Open final and she hangs in points, she has a good chance.
It's just like Mary Pierce, the clay gives her a chance to stay in points because she can get to more balls and her consistently heavy balls take a beating on the opponents.

Completely FALSE. Wow. Mauresmo is one of the best movers on tour, Sharapova isn't even close.

goldenlox
Jan 30th, 2007, 06:51 PM
Sharapova has beaten Pierce and Dementieva on red clay. Most of the good clay court players can lose to anyone on a given day. Only Justine is consistent, everyone else is beatable. That's how Myskina won in 2004.

franny
Jan 30th, 2007, 07:09 PM
I think that that is a REALLY smart schedule for Maria. Play one tournament on green clay to start things up, then playon red clay for the tie and another tier 1. However, it seems like she is playing a lot! Isn't charleston right after Key Biscayne? Anyhows, go Maria win the French!! Or at least learn to move on it.

trufanjay
Jan 30th, 2007, 07:24 PM
If Maria is ever going to win the French it's gonna be a long long time from now. Her game is not where it needs to be to win the French. But she has made a couple of good runs to the Quarterfinals.

ZListCelebrity
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:13 PM
Dream on girl... Dreaming is half of winning.

Maria Croft
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:13 PM
Wow, whould be awesome if she would play Charleston, she would probably choose to play there to prepare for her Fed Cup match.

Wannabeknowitall
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:21 PM
Completely FALSE. Wow. Mauresmo is one of the best movers on tour, Sharapova isn't even close.

You must have not seen the same Mauresmo I saw in the match against Lucie at the Australian Open.
Mauresmo isn't the same player that she was last year.

Neptune
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:23 PM
You must have not seen the same Mauresmo I saw in the match against Lucie at the Australian Open.
Mauresmo isn't the same player that she was last year.

One match proves Nothing.You must know that.;)

Wannabeknowitall
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:27 PM
One match proves Nothing.You must know that.;)

No but getting crushed by Jankovic and then admitting she wasn't prepared to defend her slam makes me wonder.
This coming from a women who last year said she was ready to die on the court against Justine Henin.

goldenlox
Jan 31st, 2007, 12:19 AM
Amelie never has good results at RG. Sharapova has only played RG twice since she won Wimbledon. She lost to Justine, and had an injury last year, and had no clay prep. Her clay form isn't established yet.

Pasta-Na
Jan 31st, 2007, 12:21 AM
honestly, many players can beat maria's big games on clay :p

goldenlox
Jan 31st, 2007, 12:23 AM
Okay, but besides Justine, who is a real threat at RG?
I don't see any other standouts. Maria is good at handling the pressure at majors, most of the top 10 don't handle the slams well.

hablo
Jan 31st, 2007, 12:25 AM
Now Sharapova moves as good as Mauresmo.

:lol:

switz
Jan 31st, 2007, 12:32 AM
good that it's a goal but i don't see it happening for a number of years and even then i suspect it would require the right draw. She should do OK on green clay but she'll need to do a lot of work to become a title threat on red clay in my opinion.

switz
Jan 31st, 2007, 12:36 AM
You must have not seen the same Mauresmo I saw in the match against Lucie at the Australian Open.
Mauresmo isn't the same player that she was last year.

many players have comedowns after having breakthrough years. I suspect the sting of losing early defending a slam for the first time will spring Mauresmo into action. I also tend to think that every fibre of Amelie's being is now devoted to getting the little monkey called Roland off her back.

Dawn Marie
Jan 31st, 2007, 01:18 AM
I've believed Maria has the game to win the French Open for years now.
Maria has been moving better and better every year.
I remember watching Maria play Daniela at Wimbledon in 2004.
She moved maybe a half step better than Daniela.
Now Sharapova moves as good as Mauresmo.

Sure she isn't a natural mover going forward.
Problem is the only player who will really take advantage of that is Martina Hingis.

If the UEs are low like they were at the US Open final and she hangs in points, she has a good chance.
It's just like Mary Pierce, the clay gives her a chance to stay in points because she can get to more balls and her consistently heavy balls take a beating on the opponents.

Maria moves nothing like Amelie. Momo can run and she looks effortless. Maria's speed is a little better but she's nowhere near Amelie. Maria is more like Lindsay but with a worse volley.

stevos
Jan 31st, 2007, 01:18 AM
Maria :hearts: For both her French Open goals and Charleston.

I'd love for her to win Roland garros so much, it would put her in a great position to win the career slam. I don't know if she has it in her yet, but you never know?

goldenlox
Jan 31st, 2007, 01:28 AM
I don't see great clay courters out there, besides Justine. I think Nadia, Sveta, and Lena all have an outside chance at RG.
If they have a chance, Sharapova does also.

RenaSlam.
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:25 PM
I don't see great clay courters out there, besides Justine. I think Nadia, Sveta, and Lena all have an outside chance at RG.
If they have a chance, Sharapova does also.

Neither Nadia nor Lena will EVER win a slam. Something's missing with them.

Sveta is one of the most talented, just still needs to improve a few things and get mentally tougher.

Sharapova has a SLIGHT chance...if the draw opens up for her as they usually tend to do.

fufuqifuqishahah
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:35 PM
if maria wins rg then either:

a) she really is a great champion because she'll be able to adapt her style of play to that surface which is not cohesive to her regular style
or
b) she got lucky, an easy draw with players who just give up against her :P

KishG
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:35 PM
There's no secret to clay on the women's tour. On the men's tour, you need to be steady.
Sharapova was injured before the FO last year. In 2005, she lost to Justine, right after Justine faced 2 mp's against Sveta. If Sveta wins one of those points, Maria has to beat Sveta, Nadia and Pierce to win RG.
That's well within her scope.
If the RG draw opens up, Maria certainly has a big chance.

Well thats IF! A year later, and Justine schooled Svetlana [actually, all her opponents in the draw]. Maria not only has to work on her movement, but her choice of shots too. She can win by hitting the ball as hard as she can from side to side against the lower ranked players, but it just won't do against the Justines of this world. Power is neutralised on clay and an odd drop-shot here and there isn't going to win you the match; neither is staying on the baseline and rallying from there.

fufuqifuqishahah
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:37 PM
i dont think it would be appropriate for maria to win rg right now because it wouldnt make sense for the game.

maybe later in her career when she becomes a little more shot consistent but more importantly, volleys better.

I<3Myskina
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:39 PM
I will eat my hat if she wins the french open.

fufuqifuqishahah
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:41 PM
I will eat my hat if she wins the french open.

eaaaaaaaaaat iIIIIIIiiiIiIT

KishG
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:42 PM
i dont think it would be appropriate for maria to win rg right now because it wouldnt make sense for the game.

maybe later in her career when she becomes a little more shot consistent but more importantly, volleys better.

I definitely think she will have a better chance of winning the French in upcoming years, but this year is a definite no from me. Her game style is the power game, and considering she got hammered by Serena [who played Maria at her own game], I think Maria needs to add to her shot selection!

It'll be a usual quarter-final appearance for me.