PARIS: Maria Sharapova warned her rivals she will be ready for a crack at finally winning a second Wimbledon title as she shrugged off the disappointment of an early exit from the French Open on Monday.
The Russian second seed was beaten in Paris at the fourth-round stage on Monday, losing 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to Lucie Safarova, the 13th seed from the Czech Republic.
The defeat ended Sharapova’s run of three successive final appearances at Roland Garros, where she won in 2012 and again last year but lost to Serena Williams in 2013.
However, the early elimination will give her more time to rest and recuperate before action at the All England Club gets underway on June 29.
For the first time this year there will be three weeks in between Roland Garros and Wimbledon to allow players more time to acclimatise to the grass, a change that was widely supported by those within the game.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s nice to have a little extra time. I don’t know what everyone will be doing, including myself, so I guess we’ll see,” said Sharapova.
The Russian has not yet decided whether she will participate in any of the Wimbledon warm-up events at Nottingham, Den Bosch, Eastbourne or Birmingham.
She won the latter back in 2004 before going on to win her only Wimbledon title to date, with her only appearance in the final in SW19 since then coming in 2011, when she lost to Petra Kvitova.
“I want to prepare myself and train and not think about where I will be in four weeks,” added the 28-year-old.
“I think as an athlete, we want to try to be at the highest level, but to get there you know what your formula is.
“You know, I started getting that rhythm again by the time Rome came around. It was a little bit tough to keep that going in the last couple of weeks, but that’s what it is.
“Then I’ll get back to the basics. I know that with work I know what I can do and I know how I will feel.
“That’s the most important thing, just to get healthy, to give myself a chance to prepare, and whether that means a warmup tournament or just getting extra days on the grass or getting extra time to just train physically, then that’s what it will be.
“But by the time Wimbledon comes around, I know that I will be ready.”
After warming up for the French Open by winning the title in Rome, Sharapova came through the first three rounds in Paris without dropping a set despite struggling to shake off the effects of a cold.
But she produced an erratic performance against Safarova on Court Philippe Chatrier.
When asked if the illness had finally caught up, she added: “I don’t like to talk about it, and I don’t think it really makes a difference.
“I’m still a competitor no matter what. You know, I’m going to do everything in order to go out and give it my best, and I think I did the best I could.
“Today it wasn’t enough, because my opponent had a different gear than I did. But I was still there and I still competed, but it wasn’t enough.”