- POSTED: 25 Jun 2014 01:44
Maria Sharapova insists she is in the mood to win a rare French Open-Wimbledon double after starting her All England Club challenge with a ruthless 6-1, 6-0 demolition of British wild card Samantha Murray.
LONDON: Maria Sharapova insists she is in the mood to win a rare French Open-Wimbledon double after starting her All England Club challenge with a ruthless 6-1, 6-0 demolition of British wild card Samantha Murray on Tuesday.
Russian fifth seed Sharapova, celebrating the 10th anniversary of her famous victory over Serena Williams as a 17-year-old in the 2004 Wimbledon final, was back in action for the first time since her triumph in Paris earlier this month.
And she breezed past world number 247 Murray in just 58 minutes on Court One to secure a second round tie against Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky.
Sharapova's confident opening suggests she could be capable of becoming the first woman since Serena in 2002 to follow victory on the clay at Roland Garros with more Grand Slam glory just weeks later on the grass at Wimbledon.
"I've never done it before. This is only the second time I won the French Open, so it's my second opportunity to try to do that," said 27-year-old Sharapova who was Roland Garros champion in 2012 but went out in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
"It being such a quick turnaround, you really try to maintain such a good balance between being physically rested but then having enough time and preparation and matches, practice, going into your first round of Wimbledon.
"You can't take that lightly but I feel that I've recovered both mentally and physically.
"Although I want to reflect on such a great victory there, I just want to start from the beginning here and be as hungry as I was if I didn't win a Grand Slam a couple weeks ago.
"It helps that I've played a lot of matches in the last couple of months. I've been put in very different situations and played some very physical matches. It gives me a lot of confidence going into this tournament."
Sharapova's second round exit against Michelle Larcher de Brito at Wimbledon last year was her worst Grand Slam result since 2010.
But she was never in danger of a repeat against the overwhelmed Murray, who is no relation to men's defending champion Andy Murray.
Sharapova was relieved to enjoy a gentle introduction to a tournament that will always have a special place in her heart since that classic win over Serena a decade ago.
"I have a great opportunity to do well here," she said. "Reflecting on that victory (in 2004) brings a lot of great memories. It really jump-started my career from a very young age.
"As a 17-year-old girl, you've never really been to the locker room, or you haven't walked through certain tunnels, you haven't played on certain courts. Every minute out there is so different.
"Now you know your way around. You know every corner by now. I always like walking around a couple weeks before when I come here for practice.
"It's a little bit eerie and different. It's always nice to see it when it's calm, the beginning of it all."
Sharapova is so comfortable in London she has even used the London tube, tweeting a picture of herself in a packed commuter train before the tournament.
"I think I picked a crowded hour," she laughed. "Maybe it's always like that. I'm just inexperienced!
"It was nice. It was the quickest route at that point. But, yeah, I do enjoy doing that once in a while."