Sharapova targets French Open breakthrough

Maria Sharapova poses with the trophy after her victory in the final against Samantha Stosur at the Italian Open on Sunday. (GETTY)

Maria Sharapova won’t be drawn into predicting her chances of winning the French Open and thereby completing a career Grand Slam.

The Russian star defeated last year’s French Open finalist Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-4 on Sunday to win the Rome International, her first title in almost a year.

But despite also beating world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the Italian capital,
Sharapova said she won’t be setting herself any targets in Paris where she has never got beyond the quarter-finals.

“I’m not really playing down my chances. I’m just saying that it’s not really my job to critique or to predict,” she said.

“I think this is the journalist’s job and my job is to go out there and play tennis and try to win the tournament. But I think women’s tennis is deeper than before.”

Sharapova, a triple Grand Slam title winner and former world number one, said her increased leg strength and improved movement is behind her better form on clay. 

“I am definitely happy with the title here and like I said before, and I will say it again, I feel better and better,” said Sharapova, who once compared her movement on clay to that of a cow.

“Although I might not be the best mover on clay or the best slider or strongest player with the strongest legs, there is a lot more than these things in tennis and that is the reason why I won.

“I’m moving better and I feel better and better with every year. I am stronger and this is one of the most important things that has helped me in that I recover a lot better. I feel stronger.”


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