Thu , 27 Jun 2019


There were injuries. There was inconsistency. There were critics. There were insults. There were meltdowns. And then there was the career Slam. How can you possibly find a pattern here? By brushing aside Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win her first French Open title and become only the tenth player in history, and sixth in the Open Era, to win all the four Majors, Maria Sharapova has defied belief, odds, history and just about every other thing there is to defy.

This was not how it was ever supposed to be for the Russian. This was clay, a surface on which she moved like a self-proclaimed ‘cow on ice’, and this year’s claycourt season was coming on the back of a string of bad losses in tournament finals which seemed impossible to shrug off.

And yet here we are, with Roland Garros turning out to be the setting for her to not only bag the one significant trophy missing from her cabinet, but also return to the throne of the No. 1 ranking, a throne she had vacated more than four years ago. How did she put all the negatives behind her and come up trumps in the end? It’s simple, really. She fought.

Sharapova has fought it all – first the injuries, then the inconsistencies, then the serve, then the criticism, then the beat-downs handed to her by Petra Kvitova (Wimbledon 2011), Azarenka (Australian Open 2012) and Serena Williams (pretty much everywhere), and now, finally, the surface that once seemed so alien to her. It’s only fitting that she has been rewarded with the No. 1 ranking for her efforts.