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Old 06-09-2012, 03:54 PM   #51
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more video and lots more pics on my blog: Maria Sharapova Completes Career Grand Slam With 2012 Roland Garros Title | Fairways and Forehands

Maria Sharapova


Shoulder surgery. A rebuilt serve. A long climb back filled with doubters and shake your head losses. All of those things were washed away as Maria Sharapova fell to her knees on the terre battue of Roland Garros and lifted her hands toward the heavens, her comeback story reaching its fruition. Masha completed her career Grand Slam by defeating the game Sara Errani in the 2012 Roland Garros final, 6-3 6-2. She becomes the 6th woman in the Open Era to achieve the career Grand Slam and the 10th woman overall. In the Open Era, she joins Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams. Prior to the Open Era she also joins Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly, Shirley Fry and Billie Jean King. One day in the future, Masha will join those players in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island as well.





Masha jumped on Errani early, sprinting out to a 4-0 lead in the first set. It looked like a rout as Sara was having problems winning points. But in the 5th game of the first set, Sharapova opened with a double fault followed by the first winner by Errani. Masha then doubled faulted again to fall behind love-40. Sara would go on to win that game. It seemed to loosen her up a bit, understandably nervous in her first ever Major final. In last year’s Wimbledon final Masha succumbed to some service yips, but as a testament to how much she has improved this year, she would not let that happen again. Sharapova pulled her serve together and despite Sara’s improved play, Masha just had no fear of anything Errani could do to her. Yes, Sara occassionally pulled off some sweet shots, particularly in the final game of the match where she hit a couple of amazing drop shots. But in the end, the only way Sara would win on this day was if Masha let her into the match with mistakes. Save for that one game, that did not happen.





Maria Sharapova is one of the most focused and intense athletes I have ever seen. For all of her style and elegance, on the court she is a single minded assassin. It was fitting that she was presented the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for her Roland Garros triumph by 3-time winner (and my favorite all-time player who would have won many more had it not been for that crazy idiot who attacked her) Monica Seles. Seles is seen by some, including John McEnroe who presented expert commentary for the final along with Mary Carillo, as the woman who brought an attacking game to the return of serve, setting the template for how players like Masha attack on the return. Masha also shares Monica’s incredible focus on court. No matter what is happening, you rarely can tell whether Masha is winning or losing by her demeanor. And that is important. I think her steely will is what allowed her to ignore all the doubters and naysayers who said she could never reach the summit again. She didn’t care what anybody said about her. She remained singularly focused on her goal. The result: Maria Sharapova is the world’s #1 ranked player once again and has a trophy from every Major championship on her mantle.

Singles – Final
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (21) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 62

Masha








with Monica Seles
















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Old 06-09-2012, 04:17 PM   #52
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Thank you very much for your great updates on the event. FYI. When I wanted info about Roland Garros, I much prefer coming here than to the official RG page. Masha is not on my top list, but congratulations to her on reaching the top and winning the last Major she was missing. Great event. Thanks again BKB.
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:44 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Elf View Post
Thank you very much for your great updates on the event. FYI. When I wanted info about Roland Garros, I much prefer coming here than to the official RG page. Masha is not on my top list, but congratulations to her on reaching the top and winning the last Major she was missing. Great event. Thanks again BKB.
You're welcome! I was thinking about another post tomorrow on what this means to the WTA. Let's face it. They LOVE that Masha is back on top, especially with the Williams sisters maybe in the last few years of their careers. Sharapova is only 25. She is the world's highest paid female athlete (she makes more in a year, 25 million per year, than her total career prizemoney to date)...and has a huge internet following.

...but...

...I think for the long term over the next 5 years, a rivalry is what is needed...Azarenka...maybe, but despite her brilliance I don't know that Vika grabs people...I don't want to give away my post, but I think Caroline Wozniacki would have been the perfect rival for pushing the WTA...except Caro is slipping...if Wozniacki can get her game together...and I think she can...a Sharapova vs Wozniacki rivalry could be just what the tour needs...I also think Li Na would have been a great rivalry as well...but like the Williams sisters, with her age you don't know how many years she has left...





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Old 06-09-2012, 08:32 PM   #54
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Great job, Bobby...purely professional...

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Old 06-09-2012, 08:49 PM   #55
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If Masha is "homely" do you think she'll get as much publicity here in the U.S. being a Russian? I've watched some of those other winners from another European countries that don't get as much publicity and TV coverages.
I'm just asking...I like Maria Sharapova.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:51 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by dangerbob View Post
If Masha is "homely" do you think she'll get as much publicity here in the U.S. being a Russian? I've watched some of those other winners from another European countries that don't get as much publicity and TV coverages.
I'm just asking...I like Maria Sharapova.
Well...look, we've talked about this with the LPGA as well...but appearance matters to advertisers...it certainly contributes to why Masha is the highest paid female athlete in the world...her endorsements are affected by her looks...but she is style plus substance...she has the achievements to back up the hype...

...but as for the publicity here, I will have to disagree about the Russian part...yes, she is Russian, born in Siberia and represents Russia in Fed Cup...but she has been in the United States since an early age, lives here and speaks American English like a native American...even John McEnroe commented during the match that Maria is Russian by birth, but everything else about her is American...

...I don't necessarily go that far...John is overstating it a little bit, but I think in a way, she's "almost American" to the mainstream sports fan...I might be wrong about that...but put it this way...I don't think she is seen quite the same way as Ana Ivanovic or Caroline Wozniacki are...certainly not the same as fellow Russians Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova...I think speech and accent have a lot to do with it...

...I also think Americans are more familiar with who Maria Sharapova is...even friends I have who don't watch tennis at all know who Maria is...a lot of that has to do with seeing her in magazines at premieres, fashion shows and other events...or they've seen one of the many commercials she's done...



...I also think we forget how long she's been on the scene...winning...she's only 25, but has been on tour for over a decade...she turned pro in 2001...she won the biggest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon, as a 17 year old over huge favorite Serena Williams...and Masha followed Ana Kournikova...and early on was compared to Ana (much to Masha's dismay, I think) but quickly separated herself from that comparison by winning Majors and the Tour Championship...

...so I think her looks opened a lot of doors and gave her a lot of opportunities that other players of equal skill don't get...but fair or not, that's often been the case...Martina Navratilova never received the amount of endorsements that Chris Evert did...



...but I don't know if looks alone get Americans to look past her being European...as I said, I think some see her as being "almost American"...and she is more known to Americans, having been in the spotlight for almost a decade...Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic are also pretty Europeans, but I don't think their looks in any way make the European factor disappear...

...also, I think despite things like Davis Cup and Fed Cup, nationality matters less in tennis...don't get me wrong, I have my eye on the up and coming American players, rooting them on...but I mean that tennis is a true world tour and favorite players often cross national lines...I hadn't really thought about it, but I've never had a favorite male or female player who was born American...I like a lot of American players, but I've had two favorite male players, Ivan Lendl and Novak Djokovic, and three favorite female players, Hana Mandlikova, Monica Seles and Kim Clijsters...of course, I've had other "favorites" over the years, but I mean #1 favorites during their time...



...tennis fans often cross lines...especially now with three dominant male players...there are a lot of American tennis fans who have Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal as their favorite player...Novak is the current dominant player but his group of American fans I think is still growing...
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:05 PM   #57
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Tennis no doubt is more global than golf....4 majors played in 4 countries.
Golf...both men and female.....3 majors played in the US.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:10 PM   #58
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Maria nationality or current residence is irrelevant. She has fans all over the world. She is in a group with Ali, Sales, Bolt, Pele, Pacquiao, Nadal, Ruth, Nadia, Phelps, and about 20 others. She belongs to all of us.

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Old 06-09-2012, 10:41 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Elf View Post
Maria nationality or current residence is irrelevant. She has fans all over the world. She is in a group with Ali, Sales, Bolt, Pele, Pacquiao, Nadal, Ruth, Nadia, Phelps, and about 20 others. She belongs to all of us.
Indeed. You know, about a year and a half ago she did an exhibition in Monterrey and folks came out...no offense to Vera Zvonareva, her countrywoman and opponent, but the fans came out for Masha...although I will say that I think DB was specifically asking why American fans look past Masha being European and not others...was it because of looks...so I specifically addressed that...however, Elf is spot on that Sharapova is a true global star...she is huge a lot of places...like many of those he named...I would also put Beckham high on that list...

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Old 06-10-2012, 12:36 AM   #60
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A few words from Masha on ESPN...

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