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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maria stays positive despite defeat

Photo Titled Sharapova and out
Maria Sharapova is out of Wimbledon with a shock second round defeat to Gisela Dulko.

There’s a lot to be said for positive thinking and that is the approach Maria Sharapova is taking as she slowly digests her second round defeat to Gisela Dulko this afternoon.

The No. 24 seed was in a philosophical mood as she addressed the press following her 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 loss and would not be drawn into making excuses for the match that slipped away.

“It took me a while to get going. It’s a little too late to start picking yourself up when you’re down a set and 3-0. You know, it’s a little late,” she said matter of fact.

“There was no real grey area today. But it’s just the way it was. I had so many easy balls, and I just made unforced errors from those. I don’t really know if that’s because I haven’t played. You know, when I’ve had those situations before, those balls would be pieces of cake, and today they weren’t. But it’s okay.”

So the nagging shoulder injury had nothing to do with the loss? “No, no pain at all.” In fact, the Russian refused to blame her health in any way for the defeat and pointed out the importance of looking at the bigger picture.

“My career is a huge part of my life, and that’s what I do on a daily basis. So is it frustrating when that goes away for a while? Absolutely. But if you have a good head on your shoulders, you also know that there’s a life to live. And if you stay positive, everything’s gonna be all right, no matter what – no matter how bad the injury is.”

'I would have liked to have a longer season before coming here, but that’s just the way it is'

Only two days before, the Russian had expressed her delight at being able to compete in the tournament, which she won as the age of 17 in 2004.

And today the 22-year-old reiterated the fact that she was glad to be here. “I wasn’t kidding when I said just being here is a wonderful accomplishment. I’m not lying about it. I had the pleasure of playing on Centre Court again. I didn’t play on it last year. This whole event, there’s nothing I don’t like about it. I enjoy every single minute of it.”

And then more measured comments began to flow. “Losses are tough. More here than at any other tournament. But, you know, it puts some perspective into your life. It’s all right. I have many more years ahead of me. It’s just unfortunate, the timing of my comeback and this only being the fourth tournament. I would have liked to have a longer season before coming here, but that’s just the way it is."

So what bodes for the future? “I just have to look forward to the next few tournaments and work myself, work hard on the court, go out, play the few tournaments and hopefully be ready for the US Open.”

Indeed, the positive thinking and small steps certainly get the thumbs up from Serena Williams, who admits it is tough to get back to the top level following an absence from the game. “It’s definitely no easy feat,” Williams said. “You have to be really focused, as she is. And I think she is doing everything right.”

Watch this space.

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