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Maria Sharapova: ‘Sometimes I think, I don’t wish this on my child’

Maria Sharapova gave credit to Simona Halep for her win by 6-2 6-2 in the China Open third round at Beijing. The Romanian player prevailed in just an hour and 12 minutes, winning against Sharapova for the first time on seven meetings.

‘She played an incredible match, probably the best she’s played against me in all of our previous meetings’, the five time Grand Slam champion admitted. ‘And I wasn’t as sharp. I wasn’t seeing the ball as well.

I wasn’t moving up and down as well as I have been against her. She was hitting the ball consistently, not making a lot of unforced errors, her service percentage was quite high. She did all the right things.’ On Halep’s serve today, she served incredibly well, much better than in New York.

Was it just a percentage issue? Was it better as a serve in terms of placement and speed? How can you break down that particular aspect of the match? ‘I think her percentage was over 70. I haven’t seen the stat, but that’s what it felt like.

And, yeah, I didn’t get too many looks. The reason I say that is because I didn’t get as many looks on the second serve. I think that was definitely a factor today. She was just consistently solid, doing the right things, yeah.’ In your book you commented that players don’t really love tennis or hate tennis.

Other players have gotten flak saying that tennis is just a job for them, or they play at a fraction of their ability and make a great living out of it. As someone who always fights on court, what do you think of players who don’t give it all they have? Is it disrespectful to the sport? ‘I think in order to be a tennis player, you have to be doing somewhat of a good job.

Like, no one that is here is not doing a good job. The level is too high. It’s too physical, too mental. You just won’t make it. Hard work is not good enough any more. Maybe it was I don’t know how many years ago, but that’s just not a factor any more.

The reason I say that is, I mean, there’s some incredible moments, very high moments, and there are very low moments. There have been times where I get off the court and you think, I don’t wish this on my future child.

The feeling is so tough and disappointing. You work so much, you dedicate so much of your time, you have so many people around you, and sometimes it doesn’t work according to plan, so you start asking questions. But then once you work, you keep going, keep fighting through it, the rewards are very incredible and special.

They have nothing to do with finance, they have nothing to do with trophies, it’s really internal. I think sport gives people something that nothing really else can replicate. I think that’s what makes it so great.

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