Sharapova takes step in right direction


Maria Sharapova believes her run to a first Wimbledon final in seven years is firm proof that the injury-plagued years which threatened to derail her glittering career are now a thing of the past. Sharapova slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to an inspired Petra Kvitova in Saturday’s title match, but the 24-year-old Russian insists that she has done enough to convince the doubters that she is still a Grand Slam contender.
It’s a confidence that she would not have had in 2009 when she missed almost a year of action because of a shoulder injury. “It’s a big step considering that my results here in the last few years haven’t been that good,” said Sharapova, who had captured three Grand Slam titles before the shoulder injury stalled her career. She had also endured a poor run at Wimbledon, where she made her breakthrough as a precocious 17-year-old in 2004, failing to get beyond the fourth round between 2007 and 2010.
“It’s a big step because my game is improving, and it’s a big step because it gives me a tremendous amount of confidence going forward. We still have many tournaments in this year and the next and the following.” Meanwhile, Sharapova believes Kvitova will capture more Grand Slam titles, even in the teeth of fierce competition from big-hitters like the Williams sisters and Kim Clijsters.