The Telegraph
Monday , November 12 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Great to have rivalries in sport, says Sharapova

Maria Sharapova during a press conference, in New Delhi, on Sunday. picture by Prem singh

New Delhi: World No. 2 Maria Sharapova said, on Sunday, that winning the French Open this year was a special moment in her career.

The 25-year-old Russian, who won the French Open this year and reached the final of the Australian Open, was in the capital for a promotional .

The following are excerpts

On the 2012 season and her injury…

It has been a remarkable year… It has been quite rewarding; I won the French Open. Otherwise, you try so hard all your life to get to the top and then you lose it because of injury… That’s frustrating. So, it was extremely satisfying to return to winning ways. If you look back at the time I spent away from the sport after the shoulder surgery… I was only 21 at that time. Hardly anyone goes for surgery at such a young age. A lot of players don’t even manage to carry on after an injury like that… But I made a comeback… I was fortunate.

Best Grand Slam triumph of her career…

It is not easy to say. All wins are important because they came at different times. But the French Open this year will always remain close to my heart. It was a special moment. I was injured and was making a comeback… I was apprehensive. For the first time in my career, I realised how difficult it was to regain the position and start winning matches again.

Secret of reaching the top…

Well, it is not easy to say because it is not an overnight process. Sheer talent, coaches or money can’t get you the success. Tennis is a tough sport… It has become very physical. It is now difficult to win even the first-round matches. Nowadays, you don’t see too many teenagers winning big championships… It’s a difficult business.

Rivalry with Serena Williams…

Serena is an incredible player and has achieved so much success. It is great to have rivalries in sport. It always helps you to work hard and try to do better than your rival…

Playing against Victoria Azarenka

Victoria is a very tough opponent. Whenever I play her, I have to do my best.

On Sania Mirza

It has been long since we played against each other, but Sania was a great talent… She was a very competitive player. I am really happy that she is doing well in doubles. It is hard to play both the formats… It is very challenging and sometimes you have to choose one. It takes so much both mentally and physically… It becomes difficult to give equal attention to singles and doubles.

Her Indian sojourn

It feels amazing to be here. I know that I have a huge fan following in this country and it feels great to get such a warm welcome… A nice little break which has allowed me to come here.

Whether she would be visiting the Taj…

Not this time… I won’t get time. Next time I come here, I must go to Agra. I would be exploring the city markets and take some souvenirs for my friends.

On Indian food

I arrived on Saturday night and asked the chef what I should try. He suggested a dosa… It tasted really nice. I wanted to have this great Indian experience… There is so much energy in this city, I have been in some quiet areas recently, resting. I really like the culture and people.

Her stunning looks

Well, it is just the hair and make-up you know… I don’t wake up looking like this.

On her latest modelling offers…

I really have no time for anything other than tennis right now.