The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament to elude Maria Sharapova so far. The furthest the Russian number one has ever got is the semis. RT takes a look at her chances at this year’s event.
This is the title Maria Sharapova wants more than anything. She is more than at home on hard courts but it is clay, which is the 25-year-old's Achilles heel.
However, Russia’s Fed Cup captain Shamil Tarpishchev says Sharapova has every chance of completing her set by winning all four slams.
“Her game has really improved recently. She had problems with her serve, but she has managed to improve this after her injury. If she manages to maintain a first serve percentage of over 75, she has got every chance of winning Roland Garros,” he says.
Sharapova’s results on the red clay have been encouraging this season. She has already won a title on the surface in Stuttgart, where she managed to overcome the current world number one Viktoria Azarenka. She also added the Italian Open title to her collection.
Once likening her problems moving on red clay to a “cow on ice”, Maria now seems more comfortable on the surface. However, former Roland Garros champion Evgeny Kafelnikov says he can't see Sharapova breaking her duck this year, although he wishes her all the best on the Paris courts.
But still Sharapova is Russia's only real hope with the likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva out of form.
“A number of the Russian women have been suffering from injuries, and this is the greatest hindrance to any professional sports person. If the Russians could have prepared as they would have wanted to, then I think there would be a lot more Russians, who would have a chance of winning Roland Garros,” says Tarpishchev.
The world number two will be looking to prove the doubters wrong, and if she can manage to win the tournament in just under two weeks’ time, this will undoubtedly be the greatest triumph of her career so far.
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