The first Russian to claim all four Grand Slam titles, Maria Sharapova, says she experienced the most amazing emotions of her whole career after winning the French Open final on Saturday.
The triumph at Roland Garros has made Sharapova only the sixth female player to complete a career Slam since the Open era began in 1968.
“In principle, there’s nothing impossible about it. It’s just incredibly hard,” Maria told Sport-Express newspaper. “A lot of things have to match – your tennis always has to be at the highest level and your health mustn’t fail you.”
“It is unique and just an incredible moment for me. I never thought that I could experience more intense emotions than in 2004, when at age 17, I won Wimbledon. I thought that moment will be the most vivid recollection of my career. But when I fell on my knees on the center court, I felt something even greater than back then,” she added.
The Russian defeated Sara Errani of Italy in straight sets to bag her maiden French Open title.
“The score of 6:3 and 6:2 may seem evidence of an easy victory, but the match was much harder than one can judge from the result,” she said. “Errani rebounded during the match, stopped making so many mistakes like in the first four games. She began reaching for more balls, actively use drop-shots. So I couldn’t lose my concentration even for a second.”
Next on Sharapova’s agenda are the Wimbledon tournament and the London 2012 Games, of which she was reminded when the Roland Garros organizers turned on the Russian anthem after the final.
“Honestly, the Olympics were my first thought,” the 25-year-old confessed. “It wasn’t played after I won my Grand Slams titles in Australia (2008), UK (2004) of the US (2006). So I did not expect to hear our national anthem. It was nice.”
When the new WTA Rankings are released on Monday, Sharapova will regain the World No.1 spot, which she last held back in 2005 as her career was endangered by a serious shoulder injury.
“There were many difficult moments in my career, but I always came back,” Maria said. “I've never looked for excuses, I have always believed in myself and to the support of the people close to me. That's what helped me in hard moments. And also my love to tennis! I'm could’ve quit sports any time. I had the money, I had Grand Slam, I had fame. But when your life is about something more important than those things, it makes you get up early in the morning and go to court to work till exhaustion – no matter if it’s a good day or the one when everything falls apart.”