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Back on her feet, and ready to go

sports Updated: Jun 11, 2012 01:38 IST

When a painful shoulder stopped Maria Sharapova from doing what she does best, she could have chosen a hundred different things to keep her buzzing mind occupied.

Instead, the Russian multi-millionaire headed straight to French school and her single-minded dedication paid off on Saturday as she charmed the cheering Roland Garros crowd by speaking to them in their own language after holding aloft the Suzanne Lenglen Cup for the first time.

"I did private lessons every single day for three months. I don't know why, but everyone thought I was completely crazy because there were so many other things I could have done," Sharapova, who underwent shoulder surgery in August 2008, said after dispatching Italy's Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in the French Open final.

Practice makes perfect
Her decision to learn French might have amounted to very little.

But like most things she does, whether it is practising for hours, days, months just to improve a shot by "one percent" - she always has the end game in sight.

"I have a lot more in me to achieve. I believe in my game," Sharapova said after becoming the 10th woman to join the career slam club.

"I think that's one of the reasons why I'm sitting here with my fourth (major) and winning Roland Garros. I always believed 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.

"One percent here, a few here, this is what I've always wanted to achieve. I always listened to my own voice and it always told me that for some reason I'm meant to be better."

Her inner voice told her that her failing shoulder would work again. Her inner voice told her she would play top level tennis again.

Her inner voice told her she would be a Grand Slam champion again.

"I proved that no matter how many punches I took in my career, I've always gotten back up," she said. "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."