Give me time to win more slams: Sharapova
A defiant Maria Sharapova denied on Tuesday that she had "hit the wall" after failing to reach the Australian Open final.india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 14:53 IST
A defiant Maria Sharapova denied on Tuesday that she had "hit the wall" after failing to reach the Australian Open final.
The leggy Russian said she needed more time to be a regular Grand Slam winner following a painful defeat by Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Melbourne semi-finals last week.
"I don't think I've hit a wall or anything," bristled Sharapova, who has failed to reach a Grand Slam final since winning Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004.
"You expect me to win a Grand Slam every year now? I think you should give more time."
Sharapova was quick to point out she has reached the semi-finals in four of the last five Grand Slams and held the world number one ranking for seven weeks last year.
"At this point in my career I'm more than happy to be in Grand Slam semi-finals," she said before this week's Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
"Just because I won Wimbledon at 17 a lot of people expect you all of a sudden to win every single one. That's not going to take one day or one week.
"I know that in a few years when I do improve little things in my game by one or two percent that I will get better."
Sharapova, the world number four, said her priority this year was to win Wimbledon again, not regain the top ranking.
"I would love to win Wimbledon rather than (be number one)," she told reporters. "But I'm very happy to be consistently in the semi-finals of Grand Slams.
"I'm not just overnight going to become an experienced player. I played some great tennis in Australia and I'm looking forward to improving and getting further."
Sharapova won last year's Pan Pacific Open title and is scheduled to meet a rejuvenated Martina Hingis in the semi-finals in Tokyo.
Hingis reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne in her first Grand Slam since retiring through injury in 2002. The 25-year-old Swiss won in Tokyo in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002.
First Published: Jan 31, 2006 14:53 IST