Bursting onto the tennis scene as a naive 17-year-old, demolishing Serena Williams on way to lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish in the summer of 2004, Sharapova has come a long way.
With four Grand Slams under her belt (she did complete a career Slam for the statistically minded); the Russian hasn't had it easy. A shoulder injury and subsequent surgery in 2008 saw her miss almost a year on tour. On return, she learnt to shorten her service motion to make it easier on the arm.Then, she had to battle past the dip in form which saw her end 2010 as the world No 18. Though 2011 saw the Russian break into the top-5, she regained the numero uno spot during Roland Garros in the recently-concluded season.
"The French Open this year will always remain close to my heart. I came into the tournament after a long injury lay-off and realised how hard it was to come back to winning ways. How hard it was to earn it," Sharapova said during a promotional event in the city on Sunday.
Dressed in a beige jacket and black skirt, without a strand of hair out of place, Sharapova insisted that Grand Slam success is not an overnight phenomenon.