Sharapova Completes Career Slam with French Open Title

“Cow on ice” no more. Maria Sharapova proved on Saturday in Paris that she can play on red clay by capturing the French Open defeating Italian Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2. Her win completes a career Grand Slam adding to her 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open titles. Sharapova is the 10th woman to accomplish this feat. Sharapova was 18-1 on clay this season. It’s he Russian’s 27th career WTA title.

“It’s the most incredible feeling,” Sharapova said, “I don’t know what to say. I’m so happy. I’ve worked so hard for this. It took a lot to get to this stage and even more to win it. There are so many tough days where you feel like giving up, but you don’t. It’s been such a journey to get to this stage again. If this weren’t my fourth Grand Slam title, if this were my only one, it would be just as special as it would be to win my fourth.”

Sharapova jumped off to a 4-0 lead in the first set against the first-timer in a major final. Sharapova’s more powerful groundstrokes and serve took down her opponent in 89 minutes.

Sharapova had already been guaranteed to move up to No. 1 in the rankings by making the final. She was last in the top spot in June of 2008 before having shoulder surgery.

“It took me many years to get to this stage,” Sharapova said. “Eight years ago, it was my first breakthrough Grand Slam. I made it to the quarterfinals, and eight years from that day, I’m here on this stage. I’m so happy to share this moment.”

“There are so many people to thank, but most importantly, it’s my wonderful team that keeps me together.”

Sharapova hit 25 winners versus four from Errani.

“She won many points with her serve or in the first two or three shots,” said Errani.  “It was difficult. I couldn’t play long points like I wanted to play.

“I played better the second set, but still was difficult for me, like I said.

“She won many points with the serve, with the receive in the first two or three shots, so for me was difficult.  I couldn’t arrive to play long points like I want to play, so was difficult for me.”

“Now I will stop for next week, and I will play at ‘s‑Hertogenbosch and Wimbledon.  I have to just think that it’s not a normal thing for me to make final of Grand Slam.  I don’t expect to make final now in other tournament.

“I play a good two weeks.  Was incredible for me.  But I just want to keep doing the same thing that I was doing.  So normal things.  Just practice, and I try to improve every day like I always do.

“So I have to think that I will lose, of course, other weeks.  So I have to know it, and that’s it.”

Errani’s career week which saw her win the women’s doubles title on Friday with Roberta Vinci in addition to making the women’s final, will move her into the top ten as of Monday.

As for Sharapova, she says she’s not done where winning is concerned: “I have a lot more in me to achieve.  I believe in my game.  I think that’s one of the reasons that that’s why I’m sitting here with my fourth one and winning Roland Garros, is because I always believed I could be better, I could be a better player, whether it was on clay, whether it was on grass, whether it was on cement, anything, I always strive to be better.

“And one percent here, a few here, this is what I’ve always wanted to achieve.  No matter how tough it was, no matter how many people didn’t believe in me, didn’t think that I could get to this point, I didn’t care and I didn’t listen.

“I always listened to my own voice, and it always told me that for some reason I’m meant to be better.  I’m meant to succeed again.

“And I did.”

“I have a tremendous amount of belief and pride in what I do.  I love my work.  I’ve always said this:  I love playing tennis.

“I had so many outs in my career.  I could have said, I don’t need this.  I have money; I have fame; I have victories; I have Grand Slams.  But when your love for something is bigger than all those things, you continue to keep getting up in the morning when it’s freezing outside, when you know that it can be the most difficult day, when nothing is working, when you feel like the belief sometimes isn’t there from the outside world, and you seem so small.”