Maria Sharapova will use the painful memories of her shock Wimbledon defeat against Sabine Lisicki to fuel her bid to remain on top of the world.
Sharapova,the 2004 champion,bowed out in the fourth round on Monday as Lisicki avenged her 2011 Wimbledon semi-final defeat against the Russian with a 6-4,6-3 victory over the world number one.
The French Open champion’s premature exit could cost her the highly-prized top ranking depending on the Wimbledon exploits of world number two Victoria Azarenka and number three Agnieska Radwanska.
But Sharapova,who only ended her four-year wait to retake pole position last month,insists her desire to be top dog is still strong enough to guarantee she will do everything in her power to bounce back during the hardcourt campaign which climaxes with the US Open in August.
“You can only use this loss as motivation. Of course you want to stay at the top as long as you can. Obviously everyone guns for that spot,” Sharapova said.
“Once I relax a little bit,I’m sure to use this as great motivation and keep going after the many goals I have.” Although her bid to make amends for last year’s Wimbledon final defeat against Petra Kvitova has come to a dispiriting end,Sharapova has still enjoyed a remarkably successful few months.
After four years without a major title,the 25-year-old completed a career Grand Slam by winning at Roland Garros last month,a triumph that came hot on the heels of claycourt titles in Stuttgart and Rome.
As she prepares to return home to Florida for a well-earned rest,Sharapova will treasure the memories of that run and use them as inspiration when she returns to action.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved. As tough as it is to sit here after a loss,you always try to take away as many positives as you can,” Sharapova said.
“What I achieved a few weeks ago doesn’t just go away in a few minutes. I’ll have that for the rest of my career.
“The tennis world always keeps going. You have to raise your level at that point,even when your opponent plays really great tennis.
“But it will be nice to rest for a little bit and be in a home atmosphere. I’ve missed it for over two months.” Sharapova’s defeat,coming just days after Rafael Nadal’s shocking loss to Lukas Rosol,was just the latest example of a lesser known opponent rising to the challenge of playing a superstar at Wimbledon this year.
The Russian,who won Wimbledon aged 17 in 2004,believes the giant-killing acts show just how hard it is to reach the top and then stay there.
“Nothing is easy,certainly not a Wimbledon title,” she said.
“The reason we start at the first round is you have to go through all those opponents to get to the final stage of a tournament.
“It could be the top seed against someone that came out of the woods. It doesn’t matter,you still have to go and play and win.
“On any given day,of course there can be an upset. That’s the sport. That’s why we watch.”