Sharapova’s secret is hard graft

This content was published 11 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

Maria Sharapova will start her bid to retain her Internazionali BNL d’Italia title on Wednesday knowing that her key to recent success has been hours of hard graft. The Russian world number two has made the final in each of her last four tournaments this year, and believes her seamless transition from hard court tennis to clay has been due to the hours of work she has put into training over the early months of the year. “There are no excuses,” said Sharapova who will take on Spaniard Garbine Muguruza on Wednesday. “From the beginning and the first few days of practice are different and you are moving around to positions that your not used to doing for the past six-seven months. “But nothing is easy in this sport and you just have to adjust and some days some things are lacking and every day little things pop up from match to match and its no easy ride.  “I usually start training in Indian Wells – Palm Springs a few weeks before the tournament and after the tournament I take a few days off and train until after Wimbledon so I suppose the preparation is about two and a half weeks.” Sharapova is aiming for a third straight victory at the Foro Italico but it will not be an easy pursuit for her especially after a first defeat on clay this year to Serena Wiliams in Madrid on Sunday. “My preparation so far pretty good,” she said. “I had a great final and so I have had a really solid week and I’d have loved to win it but at least I’ve played few matches on clay.  “This is one of  the few events that I’ve won a couple of times and its meaningful for me and its feels great to be out on the court with the support I receive here on this court. I’ve been playing here since I was a junior and it’s great the enthusiasm that I have received from the public.” There were several surprise results on Tuesday with tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki falling in a titanic final set tiebreaker 7-5 after leading 5-2 to Bojana Jovanovski. Fouth seed Agnieszka Radwanska was knocked out by qualifier Simona Halep in a three-set second round tie while 15th seed Ana Ivanovic fella the first hurdle with defeat to Urszula Radwanska in three.

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