Sharapova slips into Wimbledon second round
Maria Sharapova, who has already written off her chances of a Wimbledon repeat as she feels her way back from a shoulder injury, moved into the second round on Monday.sports Updated: Jun 22, 2009 23:20 IST
Maria Sharapova, who has already written off her chances of a Wimbledon repeat as she feels her way back from a shoulder injury, moved into the second round on Monday.
The Russian, seeded 24, battled to a 7-5, 6-4 win over Ukrainian qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova and will now face fellow tour glamour girl, Argentina’s Gisela Dulko for a place in the last 32.
Sharapova showed no signs of the shoulder trouble which sidelined her for 10 months with her most pressing problem being keeping her feet on the slippery Court One grass which prompted two awkward falls.
The 2004 champion admitted her mentality may have to change if she is to have any hope of a second All England Club title.
“I feel like the grass has changed in the last few years. It’s definitely not playing as quickly as it did when I won here in ‘04,“ said Sharapova.
“There are many balls that come back. The mentality that you have here now has to be similar to the clay. You have to expect many balls to come back, and not every ball’s going to be a winner.”
Sharapova, who made the quarter-finals of the French Open and the semi-finals of the Wimbledon warm-up event at Birmingham, insisted her right shoulder was fine.
“This is only my fourth tournament back after my surgery, on different surfaces. But the body and the shoulder are responding really well,” said the Russian whose campaign here in 2008 ended in the second round as the injury began to bite.
Despite the injury absence, which saw her miss the US Open and Beijing Olympics last year as well as the Australian Open in January, she never lost her affection for the sport.
“I’m a big competitor, and I love going out on the court and competing,” she explained.
“I love having a challenge in front of me. When I was away from tennis, I didn’t feel like I had that big of a challenge. On the court, when you’re playing in front of a crowd the feeling is completely different, and you realize that’s where I belong.”
Monday’s outing was not the smoothest performance from the 22-year-old former world number one as she was forced to come back from two early breaks in the first set to build a foundation for victory.