- French Open, Day 14
Sharapova speechless after 'special' success
Maria Sharapova labelled her French Open victory one of the most special of her career after completing the career grand slam at Roland Garros on Saturday.
Sharapova, the new world No. 1, defeated 21st seed Sara Errani 6-3 6-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier to claim her fourth slam crown - having previously claimed the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open titles during her career.
In the process, at just 25 years old she became the tenth woman to complete the career grand slam - but she insisted winning on the clay at Roland Garros, where she made her major tournament bow as a 15-year-old in 2002, was just as special as any of her other wins.
"It took me eight years to get to this stage. I'm so happy to share this moment with all of you today," Sharapova, whose first triumph came at the All England Club in 2004, said. "I cannot wait to be back.
Speaking in French, she added: "I would like to say thank you for all your support. I am speechless. It's been such a journey to get to this stage and I have so many people to thank.
"It's my first grand slam here but even if it was my only one it would be just as special as my fourth."
Errani, whose maiden final appearance at the tournament was further evidence of her improving performances on the women's tour, was magnanimous in defeat.
"I want to congratulate Maria for the tournament and for a good match," Errani said. "I also want to thank everyone who is here today.
"Of course I was nervous, the court was full. But I have to not think it's normal for me to reach the final of a grand slam. I need to keep doing what I always do."
When asked if she realised her life would now change, she added: "I hope that it doesn't change. I hope it won't change because I like it!"
Sharapova also had some words of encouragement for the Italian.
"What an amazing tournament you've played the last two weeks," the Russian said. "The match you gave me today was very difficult. This was the first time that we have played but I hope it is not the last."