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Star attraction Maria Sharapova targets Wimbledon after getting her hands on silverware again

When Maria Sharapova speaks in her American accent it can be easy to forget that her roots are very much Russian.

Russia's Maria Sharapova clutches the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris for the second time in three years. Picture: Getty Images
Russia's Maria Sharapova clutches the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris for the second time in three years. Picture: Getty Images

In mentality, though, there can be no question.

Not only does she fight to the end but the 27-year-old is a firm believer in the very Russian ethos that you can only enjoy the highs if you have experienced some lows along the way.

And so when she missed the last four months of last year with shoulder problems and her confidence was missing as 2014 began, Sharapova knew that as long as she continued to work, then somewhere, at some stage, things would come good.

"I think things happen for a reason," she said, just a couple of hours after her 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 victory over Romania's Simona Halep, a win that gave her a fifth grand slam crown. "I believe in that. There's a reason why I had to miss four or five months. There's a reason why I had to lose a few of those matches at the beginning of the season. I certainly didn't want to lose, but they all bring you to this moment."

Having won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old, Sharapova's tennis life was full of highs until a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2008 that required surgery and kept her off the tour for the best part of nine months.

Her win in Paris in 2012 was her first grand slam title following surgery and, after the worry of more shoulder trouble last autumn, Saturday's typically battling victory over the impressive Halep was more vindication of what she has gone through to get to this point.

It has been said of Sharapova that she is almost better now on clay than other surfaces but the Russian said she had adapted to it, rather than mastered it.

"I didn't want to become a clay-court player. I wanted to try to make my game work on the clay courts," she said. "It really forces you to think about your weaknesses and what you need to improve when you end up losing some of these matches on clay.

"My style of game is not defensive and once you get on clay it's so natural to all of a sudden back up and feel like you have to grind it out."

Quick as a flash, Sharapova turned her thoughts to Wimbledon. "Yes, I just won the French Open but today everyone is working on the grass," she said. "I'll be there next week and I'll be working just as hard to try to win another one."

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