Maria Sharapova, currently ranked No. 9 in the world, last saw Grand Slam success at the French Open in 2013, reaching the finals of said event after easily defeating China's Li Na. Sharapova would finish as the runner-up, though, after losing to the most dominant player in tennis currently, Serena Williams. Luckily for Sharapova, she will not have to face Williams as she gears up for the 2014 French Open at this week's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.
Whether the participating of Serena WIlliams would have had an impact on Sharapova's performance or not is perhaps a superfluous question considering the success Sharapova has experienced at Stuttgart in the past. "I've competed here for the last two years and won both times, so I have only positive memories... I don't want to miss out on an experience like this."
When asked if she was excited at the prospect of competing at the event without having to worry about the presence of Serena Williams, Sharapova replied, "I am a person who loves the challenges and I don't go out of my way to avoid anyone... Serena has been playing her most successful tennis in recent years and my aim must be to learn from the defeats against her and work to get to her level."
Sharapova has been battling a recurring shoulder injury since August 2013. In her first competition in 2014, Sharapova advanced to the semifinals before losing to Serena Williams. Going into the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, however, Sharapova feels as good as ever: "I was out of action for four months and hardly played after last year’s French Open. But I’m back to 100 percent now and I want to win in Stuttgart.”
Sharapova is also riding the success of her most recent candy launch. In celebration of her 27th birthday, Sharapova announced the production of the newest candy from her premium candy brand, Sugarpova.
— Sugarpova (@Sugarpova) April 18, 2014
The resemblance of the candy to the shape of a Porsche 911 is no coincidence. One year ago, Porsche named Sharapova its first global ambassador.
“As an ambassador of the brand, it’s thrilling for me to combine my passions in such a totally unexpected and exciting way. The 911 is my favourite Porsche because its shape is so perfect," stated Sharapova.
Happy birthday to me...(Porsche not included) 🙂 pic.twitter.com/SBRWHvBy4F
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) April 19, 2014
WIth all of her connections to Porsche, it's no wonder Sharapova has had so much success at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Stuttgart. With Serena Williams out of the mix this year, it looks as if that success will remain.
Image via YouTube