Wimbledon humiliation will fuel my fire: Sharapova | sports | Hindustan Times
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Wimbledon humiliation will fuel my fire: Sharapova

sports Updated: Jun 27, 2008 09:07 IST

Maria Sharapova insists the humiliation of being dumped out of Wimbledon by fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva has only fuelled her determination to win the tournament again.

Sharapova, the third seed, suffered her earliest exit from the grasscourt Grand Slam after a lacklustre second round display against the world number 154 on Court One.

Coming so soon after a fourth round exit to Dinara Safina at the French Open, this 6-2, 6-4 defeat was an hour and 23 minutes of agony for Sharapova.

It was one of Wimbledon's greatest shocks and continued a worrying decline for Sharapova just six months after winning the Australian Open.

Her anger would hardly have been eased when Kudryavtseva later laid bare the frosty relationship between the richest sportswoman in the world and the majority of the other Russian players.

But the world number three, who triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004, is adamant she is determined to be the women's champion at the All England Club again.

"I still have the desire, even 30 minutes after the match, to go back on court and to get better, because that's the only thing that's gonna get me to hold that plate again," she said.

"I still have many years ahead of me. I've had to deal with a lot of ups and a lot of downs on and off the court, and I have the experience behind me.

"I think the number one thing is not be discouraged by losses or by negative things.

"You have to find a way to keep your head up even though it's pretty tough, because you put the effort in and you work hard and you dedicate yourself every single day to be a better player and a better professional.

"Sometimes the work doesn't pay off untill you never know when. I don't know when that work's gonna pay off.

"I've come into a tournament and results don't just come. It's not just for me. It's for everybody. Everybody goes through it and has those moments.

"But I'm experienced enough to know that life goes on and that there are a lot worse things in life that can happen than losing a tennis match, even if it's at Wimbledon and even if it means a lot to me."

If Sharapova is to get back to the top she will have to do it the hard way as the quality of women's tennis continues to improve, even among the lesser lights.

Sharapova admitted Kudryavtseva's victory underlined the growing strength in depth on the WTA tour, but she believes it is down to her to raise her game another level in response.

"I've always said there's depth on the tour. But at the end of the day it doesn't really matter," she said. "All that matters is on any given day you have to go out there, and whoever your opponent is, you have to beat them.

"Everybody can present a challenge. Everybody has a lot of strength. Everybody is hungry. This girl that beat me, she might not win the tournament, but she beat me, and it probably made her tournament."