Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Victory Means to A Champion

“It’s special because you’ve been practicing since you were young. It’s what you dreamed of, what you see on TV, those big trophies. And it’s just a moment. The first thing that comes to mind are all those days that were so hard when you had to push through them…[when] you never knew if you were going to have a chance to hold a trophy. But you did [everything to do it]…and you’re not regretting…It’s a really cool, incredible feeling.”
--Maria Sharapova, who captured the 2011 Italian Open, talking about what winning means to her.  

Sharapova beat Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4 in the Italian Open final last Sunday for the biggest clay-court title of her career.  This tournament is a key warm-up for the French Open, that begins next week.  Sharapova will now clearly be one of the favorites at Roland Garros in Paris, also a clay court.
After a three-hour rain delay, the seventh-seeded Sharapova won the opening four games, then cruised easily in a total of 1 hour and 23 minutes to follow up her victory over number-one ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the tournament semifinals.  A former No. 1 herself, Sharapova had been struggling to regain her top form since undergoing right shoulder surgery in October 2008 -- which caused her to miss 10 months of tennis.  

Excerpts from InsideTennis.com (May 2011) and ESPN.com (May 15, 2011).

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