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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Maria Sharapova returns to Wimbledon in search of boost

Maria Sharapova returns to the tournament that set her on the path to Wimbledon glory last year when she starts the defense of her Edgbaston title this week. After some retail therapy in Paris following her quarter-final defeat by eventual champion Justine Henin-Hardenne at the French Open, the 18-year-old Russian is eager to start her grasscourt campaign.

Maria Sharapova

"What happened to me last year was amazing. I was playing really great tennis here and then went off to win Wimbledon. It brings back good memories. I can't believe it's been a whole year already," Maria told a news conference. "It (Edgbaston) is a really good warm up for Wimbledon just because it's a low key tournament. I've always enjoyed playing here."

Maria Sharapova was an outside bet when she won the singles and doubles titles in Birmingham last year and went on to dazzle the All England Club by beating Serena Williams in a thrilling Wimbledon final. In stark contrast Maria Sharapova is top seed at Edgbaston this week and knows the pressure will only increase as Wimbledon, which starts on June 20, draws nearer. "I've never really taken pressure seriously because it's part of the sport," she said. "As I am the defending champion here and at Wimbledon I will have that extra pressure but pressure is what drives me."

Despite the sometimes damp English weather, Maria was delighted to be returning to grass after the clay of Roland Garros. "I really enjoy it. It's an amazing feeling...It puts a smile on my face," she said. "The ball jumps weird and I am laughing. It makes me want to work harder and give that extra effort. It is really special to me. "I think I have a better chance with anybody on grass. It is my favorite surface and it suits my game really well. "Every Wimbledon title will mean everything to me. It's the best tournament in the world. "I appreciate every grand slam but at Wimbledon you have that extra feeling in you that you really want to win."


At 15/6/05 00:07, Blogger POPCORN said...

That russian mama looks good enough to eat.


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