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Rome victory signals new beginning for Sharapova

sports Updated: May 16, 2011 08:49 IST

Reuters
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Former world number one Maria Sharapova described her victory over Samantha Stosur at the Italian Open on Sunday as a new start.

"It's a new journey. It's not about me looking back and getting better or worse," said the 24-year-old Russian who defeated Australian Stosur 6-2 6-4 in a one-sided final. "This is about starting from the beginning and getting better than I was before and improving.

"I don't think about how I played years ago. I'm not a 17-year-old girl anymore and the tour has changed with different players. You can't rely on what you had in the past how you were in the past. You have to look to be better."

Although the victory was her third on clay from a career total of 23, the Russian said she was confident going into Roland Garros.

"It would be the most challenging grand slam for me to win but I accept challenges," she said. "I love them and that's why I'm a tennis player It would be wonderful to be able to achieve that. It's just a coincidence I have won other grand slams."

Sharapova, who took a long period off the circuit following surgery two years ago, said she kept to herself on the circuit.

"It is tough to have really good friends on the tour," she said. "I find it difficult to be having dinner with someone one night and then having to play them two days later because it is at the end of the day an individual sport and we are all very competitive.

"It's typical in sport to try to beat each other. You know we are not on a team and as far as really close friends goes I have my family who come with me on the road.

"I don't hang around in the locker room - it's my least favourite place in the world. I do my job at the site, I play matches do what I have to do and live my world away from the site and don't talk tennis all day. It's not in my best interests."

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