PARIS, France - On next Monday's rankings there will be a shift near the top, as Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova will flip flop (Sharapova will rise to No.2, Kvitova will dip down to No.3). It will be Sharapova's 75th career week in the Top 2 - a number only 10 women in the history of the WTA can beat.
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Despite playing through several generations of legends and suffering a serious right shoulder injury a few years ago, Sharapova has been consistently excellent throughout her career, and since the rankings began in 1975 only 10 women have more weeks than her in the Top 2: Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.
After winning her opening match at the Open GDF SUEZ on Wednesday, the 24-year-old was asked about returning to the No.2 ranking next week.
"It's a great statistic, no doubt, because it means you're not losing every single match. You can't be at that ranking and not be having good results - it means you're consistent," she said. "But it's a goal of mine to get to No.1. That's a goal in every player's mind. Then again, having been in that position before, I think my main goal is really the Grand Slams. And those wins will bring my ranking."
Sharapova is playing the Open GDF SUEZ for the first time and has been complimenting the atmosphere of the Premier tournament's center court.
"It's more intimate, because the stands go much higher instead of going out. I personally like that," she said. "When we play around the world in so many big stadiums, it seems like the people are really spread out - if I were a fan, I would prefer it to be this kind of atmosphere and this type of arena, because I would be so much closer and would really feel the intensity of the match. The physical aspects of it, the reactions, the emotions, the movement... I think that's just so much better from a fan's perspective. And you really feel that energy as well."
And what does the Russian megastar do in the city? "Just visit, walk around. I've lived in the US for so many years, you get used to driving places all the time, and I love coming to Europe because you walk everywhere. You walk and you forget. Just going to a restaurant, walking for 20, 25 minutes is not a big deal - but if you think of doing that in Florida you're crazy! It's just different.
"There are also so many different things to do here as well. I love the food, the shopping's amazing and there are so many unique and different boutiques you don't find around the world. Of course you have all the main shops that you get in other cities, but then you find the hidden secrets you always go back to. Then the parks, architecture, museums... it's pretty much endless."
"It will be Sharapova's 75th career week in the Top 2 - a number only 10 women in the history of the WTA can beat."