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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 07:19 PM   #4261
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

thank you
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #4262
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Thanks for posting the interview. I wonder if she would invite her mum to her box on Saturday. I am sure if her dad is with her, he would be there. Because she has a calm influence on her, might be an asset.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 07:58 AM   #4263
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

The Russian presser - http://news.sport-express.ru/2012-06-07/515338/
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #4264
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Matt Cronin: Maria's return to No.1 and her final hurdle in the Roland Garros final

By Matt Cronin

PARIS - Comeback stories in tennis are sometimes so over dramatized that the authentic ones lose their sparkle.

But Maria Sharapova's march back to the No. 1 ranking almost four years after a severe shoulder injury that nearly ended her career is not one of the those.

It's a very real one and after a sometimes torturous comeback, Sharapova has retaken the No. 1 ranking and punched her way into her first Roland Garros final with a 6-3, 6-3 dismantling of Petra Kvitova.

"It is satisfying to be in a Roland Garros final for the first time when I know many years ago I'm sure many people never considered me getting to this stage," she said. "And personally I've always believed and I have worked towards it, but I didn't quite know if I was really ever physically quite ready for that. So to be on this stage for the first time in my career, 25 years old, is just a great personal achievement."

In October 2008, the California and Florida resident by way of Russian underwent shoulder surgery and didn’t return to singles competition until May 2009 in Warsaw.

During her rehab, there were days in which her surgically repaired shoulder hurt so much that she couldn’t even take a walk on the beach. Reflecting on that period a couple of years ago, the three-time Grand Slam champion told me that she soothed her mind by thinking back to some of her greatest triumphs, like her shocking upset of Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, her beatdown of Justine Henin in the 2006 US Open final, or her complete devastation of the 2008 Australian Open field. But there were some other kinds of triumphs that few noticed, the ones that were won based on grit and guile.

“When you are 17 and winning Wimbledon it’s not so much a freebie, but I never thought I was ready to win it physically or mentally,” she said. “But something in me was so strong and I didn’t let anything bother me. I was almost oblivious to the outside world. When I look back at the matches when I played great, I think about what was going through my mind. Confidence helps and you are on autopilot. I also go back to the tough days when I wasn’t feeling great, or I wasn’t thinking straight, and still managed to pull it together. I think about how I was able to turn it around."

There also were those days when Sharapova saw her ranking drop through the floor week by week and she would call up her team and cry. But she stayed determined and was willing to take the punches, even when during the first two years of her comeback there were times when she was playing at 50% of her prior level. Her shoulder still hurt on many occasions and she had to reconstruct her serve time and time again just to avoid pain shooting up her arm, or the numbness in her right hand.

She heard people make fun of her frequent double faulting, folks who had no idea that due to her surgery there were times that she couldn't even feel the balls coming off her strings on her kick serve.

But she kept grinding, was willing to take all sorts of advice and finally, during this clay court season, her serve has become a consistent weapon, which is one of the reasons why she has won 18 of her last 19 matches on clay. Her return of serve has always been vicious and her groundstrokes are also deadly when she is moving well.

But in taking down Kvitova for the third straight time this year, she did it by hitting her spots with her serves, which allowed her to take control early in rallies so she could stretch the lefthander out and gun for the corners.

Sharapova, whose serve had let her down in previous majors, placed 75% of her first serves in and won 79% percent of those points. She actually won the match on a second serve ace down the tee, which might have been the first time she has done that in her career.

"Let's not go crazy here," after I mentioned that to her. "It wasn't the first one ever. Maybe second," she said with a hearty laugh.

Sharapova broke Kvitova four times in the contest, who made a mini charge in the second set to even it at 3-3, but then imploded after one of her returns of serve was called out on game point to give Sharapova 4-3 lead.

She then went on a mental walkabout and Sharapova quickly closed out the contest.

"She improved a lot, not only on the clay," said Kvitova. "I wasn't playing bad, but she was better. She deserves it, and she's No. 1 now. She has a big serve. It's tough to return her. She plays very fast. It's a different game compared to matches before."

Sharapova will play the feisty Italian Sara Errani in the final, whom she considers a dangerous foe. And why not? Errani is the ultimate thinking woman's player who has belied her lack of height and become a major defense to offense threat, sprinting past a series of fine foes en route to the final. Two former Roland Garros champs in Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the much improved German Angelique Kerber, and on Saturday she chopped the mighty clay court lover Samantha Stosur in three sets, showing steely serves while the US Open champion shook.

Errani, the 21st seed, said that she finally believes she can hang with the top players.

So can Sharapova, but since her May 2009 return to the tour, she has only reached two major finals - 2011 Wimbledon, where she lost to Kvitova, and the 2012 Australian Open, where she went down hard to soon-to-be-No. 2 Victoria Azarenka. But she never stopped believing she would get to this stage again.

The cherry on the cake would be her first Roland Garros title, but even if she doesn't win it, she'll be back for more. She's is the mark of resiliency.

"It's about understanding that you did something well enough to get to that position, to get into the finals, and about realizing that when you get to the finals, you're not done," she said. "You have to keep going. You have to keep playing with the same intensity, same level. You've got to be even better. That's pretty much the way to look at it. Resiliency is important, because if you let things get to you and losses and words and negative things, then it can be frustrating. But after I came back from injury I've been much better at not allowing those things to bother me. Results and little things that can maybe make your mind go crazy. They don't bother me so much now."
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 01:27 PM   #4265
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSV View Post
Thanks for posting the interview. I wonder if she would invite her mum to her box on Saturday. I am sure if her dad is with her, he would be there. Because she has a calm influence on her, might be an asset.
Aww, I would love to see her mother in her box for the first time! That would be so sweet, especially if she won =)
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 01:41 PM   #4266
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Thanks for the article! Matt Cronin can get on my nerves sometimes but that was a good article. What Masha said about the second serve ace is great.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #4267
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Originally Posted by lefty24 View Post
Thanks for the article! Matt Cronin can get on my nerves sometimes but that was a good article. What Masha said about the second serve ace is great.

Cherry on the cake is a lousy choice of words. A grand slam title, the only one which has eluded her, is more than a cherry on her cake.
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 05:35 PM   #4268
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http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/ne...262485043.html

"It's not over yet, you know. I'm not sitting here and saying I'm done, because I'm far from it."

Glad to hear it.

My favorite bit: "I had so many outs in my career. I could have said, I don't need this. I have money; I have fame; I have victories; I have Grand Slams. But when your love for something is bigger than all those things, you continue to keep getting up in the morning when it's freezing outside, when you know that it can be the most difficult day, when nothing is working, when you feel like the belief sometimes isn't there from the outside world, and you seem so small."

*tear*
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 05:40 PM   #4269
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by graffite View Post
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/ne...262485043.html

"It's not over yet, you know. I'm not sitting here and saying I'm done, because I'm far from it."

Glad to hear it.
Those words... I can never EVER cease to admire how much power and strength she has in herself.
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 05:45 PM   #4270
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Final interview:

Q. You've dominated this match as you have dominated the whole tournament. How were you feeling today? How were you feeling just after the match point?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's surreal. It's the most unique moment I've experienced in my career. I never thought I would have that. I thought that when I won Wimbledon at 17, I thought that would be the most treasured moment of my career.

But when I fell down on my knees today I realized that this was extremely special, and even more so. Yeah.

Q. Achieving the Grand Slam, big four, and when you think that even people like Nastase, Sampras, Rosewall, so many big names even in men's tennis couldn't achieve. When you look back to the start of your career and today, maybe one of your happiest days, how do you envision the trip between the beginning of your career and today, the Grand Slam?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's a long journey. It started from a very young age. It's not over yet, you know. I'm not sitting here and saying I'm done, because I'm far from it.

I have a lot more in me to achieve. I believe in my game. I think that's one of the reasons that that's why I'm sitting here with my fourth one and winning Roland Garros, is because I always believed I could be better, I could be a better player, whether it was on clay, whether it was on grass, whether it was on cement, anything, I always strive to be better.

And one percent here, a few here, this is what I've always wanted to achieve. No matter how tough it was, no matter how many people didn't believe in me, didn't think that I could get to this point, I didn't care and I didn't listen.

I always listened to my own voice, and it always told me that for some reason I'm meant to be better. I'm meant to succeed again.

And I did.

Q. What did you prove to yourself today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I proved that no matter how many punches I took in my career, I've always gotten back up. I never made excuses for me, not to myself, not to people. I always relied on my own talent, on the help of my team.

At the end of the day, that's really what gets me through and gets me up. I have a tremendous amount of belief and pride in what I do. I love my work. I've always said this: I love playing tennis.

I had so many outs in my career. I could have said, I don't need this. I have money; I have fame; I have victories; I have Grand Slams. But when your love for something is bigger than all those things, you continue to keep getting up in the morning when it's freezing outside, when you know that it can be the most difficult day, when nothing is working, when you feel like the belief sometimes isn't there from the outside world, and you seem so small.

But you can achieve great things when you don't listen to all those things.

Q. Talking about the match, Sara did some very good dropshots. Your athletic skills, where did you get them? Because you are moving really well in clay.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Let me take a sip of water. (Smiling.)

I've said this. I've really improved physically. I've moved a lot better, you know, from the start of my first tournament in Germany. I just felt more comfortable. Not just this year, but starting maybe last year, maybe the year before, I started moving a lot better. I started believing that I could, you know, play longer rallies; I could recovery better.

I mentioned this before. It's something, you know, that I've stuck to.

Q. At the beginning of your career you didn't seem so comfortable on clay.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uh‑huh.

Q. Is there a key moment when you found, I believe in myself, I can win, or is it you improve a little bit during all your career?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt like I've improved little by little. There wasn't a certain moment in my career where I thought, Oh, wow, now I can do this.

You know, I had really difficult matches in previous years at Roland Garros, but I feel like maybe the match I ended up losing was against Justine, you know, I was ‑‑ I took her to the third set and I had many opportunities in that third set, and she, at the time, was the best clay‑court player.

During that match I felt like, you know, I retrieved many balls back, I made her play, I felt like I was really in the game, and I didn't feel like she was that much better than me at that time during that match despite all her success on clay. And I didn't have much.

So, yeah, maybe that was a moment where I felt like, you know, I would have a chance one day.

Q. Your French was really decent.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, please. Please. Let's only give compliments where compliments are due. That's not an area where you can compliment me on.

Q. Are you going to be studying now in order to come back next year and be fluent? Maybe was that a start of a love affair? How are you going to experience Paris now maybe tonight by celebrating, going shopping, or what?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's fun. Actually when I first hurt my shoulder and I knew that I wouldn't probably be playing for about two or three months, for some reason the first thing I did was I found a French school close to my house, and I did private lessons every single day for three months.

But after that I had to start traveling to Phoenix to see a shoulder specialist there. I was going from Monday to Friday, so I pretty much stopped, which was unfortunate.

I don't know why, but everyone thought I was completely crazy because there were so many other things I could have done.

But it was really the first thing on my mind when I heard about my injury was that I was going to learn a language. I chose French. I didn't achieve much in the language department, but, you know...

Q. It's more than obvious that you won this tournament, but what was your reaction when your name was announced as a runner‑up at the ceremony?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was funny. I actually like saw her reaction better when she lifted her hands. It's nice to see when, you know, when a finalist is in good spirits and, you know, the way she talked and, you know, the speech. It's nice to hear words that are down‑to‑earth, that are real, you know, real people. I think real souls are just ‑‑ it's nice to hear, nice to see.

Q. I'm wondering are you going to watch the match tomorrow or are you going to watch maybe with Sasha and whom you're going to cheer?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which match are we talking about? His match or?

Q. Finals.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, I don't know, no. Because he's playing tomorrow. I didn't know if you were...

I might be on a plane tomorrow somewhere. I don't know where yet.

I heard the weather is not supposed to be too good tomorrow, I'm not sure, but I will tell you that I'm not going to be planning my schedule around the final.

Q. Who are you going to cheer...

MARIA SHARAPOVA: For who am I going to cheer?

Q. Yeah.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, I don't know. It's the last thing I'm really thinking about right now.

Q. Nadal or Novak?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I don't know. I would love to see Novak win because it's the one he hasn't won yet, but I mean, I have seen Nadal play here and it's been pretty incredible.

So, yeah, it's going to be a pretty nice match.

Q. What are your plans now? You must be excited to get on the grass given the form that you're in?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I just spoke to my mom and she said ‑‑ Well, first, I'm actually debating with my coach whether I should have three or four days off. I'm going for four, he's going for three, which is very typical. (Smiling.)

I called my mom. We talked for a little bit, and she said, You know, you have those four days off. I said, No, mom, maybe only three. She said, Okay, whatever it is, you enjoy for three or four days, and then it's back to work.

Yeah, this is my philosophy in my family. Then I called my dad and he's on the bike and he's like, Oh, great job. He's like, Talk to you later. I'm like... (Smiling.)

Wonderful, wonderful family support. Like the wind is the back, you know, and he's like ‑‑ no, he was excited. He's like, Yeah. Okay, I'm on the bicycle I'll call you later. (Laughter.)

Oh, my family...

So, yeah, I will be enjoying for the next three, four days, and then I'm back on the grass courts where I love to be. I can't wait to step on it and start working and getting ready for Wimbledon.

Q. You're clearly a serious player in matches, but were there any times during the tournament, on points or after points, where you're really enjoying yourself, feeling happy, or just kind of locking in and saying, Oh, I actually hit a topspin lob winner or a slice forehand, that makes me feel good? Or is it all just deadly serious point by point?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, when I'm hitting a slice forehand there's something wrong. I mean, shouldn't be hitting a slice forehand.

Q. You hit a winner off one, though.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, that was a big mistake.

No, I mean, I'm sure there were points during the tournament where, you know, I was happy about them. But I think I didn't play a great fourth round here. I felt like, you know, I had three good matches and then my level dropped a little bit in that fourth round.

I improved from that. You know, I came out of the match, and I said, You know, I have a chance; I'm in the quarterfinals; I have to step it up.

I think that was really like when I came off the court after that tough match where I didn't feel like I was playing well and I said, you know, I've got to step it up. I can't play like this if I want to win this tournament.

So that was something that I was just happy with.

Q. Since you started working with Thomas Hogstedt, your game seems to have improve a lot and you've reached tremendous success. What has he meant to you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, he's been a great addition, no doubt about it, to my team. I have a lot of respect for him and his work and his energy that he's brought. I mean, from the first day in practice I thought I was going to suffocate. You know, to his energy in the box, to his words, and, you know, he studies the sport really well. I think he locks himself up in a room and watches tennis 24/7, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for that.

He loves the game, and he was really passionate to start working for me. I really appreciated that from the first day.

Q. Before this ceremony, you looked for a paper. Was there any special message?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no, I was just trying to figure out a few words in French. (Smiling.)

Q. You weren't really prepared?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, no, nothing was prepared. I'm not one that writes a speech before the victory. Trust me. Not me.
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 07:30 PM   #4271
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

I love how she just doesn't give a damn about the men's final
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 07:35 PM   #4272
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http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=318702

Not sure what availability will be like in other domains. But that's the match.
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 07:39 PM   #4273
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I love how she just doesn't give a damn about the men's final
Nonetheless I'd love to see her in the crowd like we saw Vika at AO.
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 07:46 PM   #4274
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

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Originally Posted by jameshazza View Post
http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=318702

Not sure what availability will be like in other domains. But that's the match.
OMG thank you, I couldn't watch the match today and didn't even think of this I was in the middle of downloading a torrent!
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Old Jun 9th, 2012, 09:04 PM   #4275
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Graf about Masha http://www.thetennisspace.com/opinio...tennis-player/
Quote:
Steffi Graf has told The Tennis Space that Maria Sharapova’s career grand slam has shown that she is “a complete tennis player with great talent, who is capable of winning on all surfaces”. Graf, who was speaking at a Longines event at Roland Garros, said she understood the difficulties and the challenges that Sharapova has been through after her shoulder injury and operation: “I know what that’s like, and I’m sure it’s been a big challenge for her. This is a great achievement for Maria.”

Graf on Sharapova returning to the top of the sport – she will be No 1 again on Monday morning. “I’m not surprised at what Sharapova has done, getting back to No 1 again after the problems with her shoulder, but I sure understand the difficulties of coming back from a serious injury. I’m sure that it’s been a big challenge for her coming back from her shoulder operation, but with the talent she has it’s not so much of a surprise. Her style of tennis is so powerful, and she is so talented, so there was always a chance that she would come back to this level.”

Graf on the significance of Sharapova winning all four grand slams: ”To win all four slams, that’s a great achievement. If you win a few slams, that’s an achievement in itself, but if you win all the slams at least once, that shows that you’re a complete player, and your talent, as you’ve shown that you can win on four different surfaces. Especially nowadays, as three of the four grand slams used to be on grass, with the fourth here on clay in Paris, and now the tournaments are played on four different surfaces. So this is quite an achievement for Maria.”

Graf on what’s it like trying to deal with her, Sharapova, and other tennis players to cope with injuries: “It’s one of the hardest things for a tennis player. Early on in my career, I didn’t struggle with any injuries, and then I had problems with my shoulder and with my back. That was difficult. The knee then made it very difficult. When you know almost every hospital in every city, that’s not good. I have lasting effects now from my playing career and from my injuries. Every retired tennis player will tell you that it becomes harder and harder as the years go on. We just age much quicker than people who didn’t play tennis professionally. That’s definitely one of the most difficult parts of dealing with your body, not just at the end of your career, but after your career.”
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