Sharapova Wins French Open; Completes Career Grand Slam

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Ahh, springtime in Paris. A great place to be if your name is Maria Sharapova.

Saturday morning Sharapova dismantled Sara Errani of Italy, 6-3, 6-2 at the French Open and celebrated the most elusive of her major championships. With the victory at Roland Garros, Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam, something that three years ago many thought was impossible. With the victory, Sharapova became the 10th woman with a title from each major.

“A few years ago I don’t know if I even had a ranking after having my shoulder surgery (in August 2008) and it’s special to be back on top again,” a beaming Sharapova told the crowd.

Never afraid to show her iron will in the face of adversity, Sharapova has made an amazing comeback. Three years ago, the Russian dropped as low as 126th in ranking. This year, she has won two tournaments and finished runner-up in three more, including the Australian Open. That, plus the performance at Roland Garros, has helped push her back on top - she once again owns the No. 1 WTA ranking.

Credit Image: © POOL/Action Images/ZUMAPRESS.com

The popular tennis star won her first major title in 2004 at Wimbledon at age 17, then the United States Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. But before she could claim victory at the French Open, a shoulder injury derailed her career. Everything that happened afterward — the shoulder surgery, the reconstructed service motion, the comeback that shocked the tennis world — was as difficult as it was unexpected.

“Most people would have called it a day,” Martina Navratilova, one of the most accomplished tennis players ever, said earlier last week. “She stayed with it. I wouldn’t have thought she was capable of doing that two, three years ago. Great for the sport, I think, and good for her. She’s a superstar, and it’s always good if a superstar is on top.”

Sharapova is a millionaire many times over and despite a career setback, the statuesque blond has never lacked for sponsors. Her success on the red carpet wasn't dependent on her successon the red clay. While the arduous comback may not have been necessary, Sharapova has always been a committed athlete and fierce competitor. Standing almost ten inches taller than her competitor, she came onto the court wearing black and looking formidable.

''I believe in my game,'' Sharapova said. ''I think that's one of the reasons I'm sitting here with my fourth one and winning Roland Garros, because I always believed I could be a better player.''

Yup. Springtime in Paris. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

@jschonb

dare to dream

Also online at prettytough.com and womentalksports.com

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