Sharapova: 'I have had an incredible year'
Maria Sharapova is hoping to add the US Open title to her French Open victory and silver medal at the London Games.
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2012 20:16
Sharapova was second best to Serena Williams at Olympics but will be hoping to get revenge at US Open [AFP]

Maria Sharapova has not played a match since settling for a silver medal at the London Olympics but she thinks rest might be just the thing to help her thrive at the US Open.

The 25-year-old Russian completed a career Grand Slam in June by capturing the French Open title, having already taken Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008.

"I've had an incredible year. Winning the French was very meaningful to me. It was just one that I really wanted to get," Sharapova said.

"Being a first time Olympian, going out there and getting silver, that was a great moment."

"Sometimes it's more important for the body to feel fresh and the mind as well. You never know if that's going to pay off or not, but you learn from experience. That has helped me before"

Maria Sharapova

Third seed Sharapova, who seeks her 28th career title, has won this year at Stuttgart and Rome, as well as Roland Garros, but lost to Serena Williams in the Olympic final and skipped two major hardcourt tuneups ahead of the US Open.

"I went into Montreal but I got a stomach bug and just decided to give it a rest," she said.

"It was a sign my body just needed to slow down. It was a lot of travel, a lot of playing. Had a hectic summer so decided to shut it down.

"I've been training for a few weeks now. I got here a little early. I know if I feel healthy and have enough practice, I'm OK. I don't feel like I need to play three tournaments in a row in order to be ready for the US Open.

"Sometimes it's more important for the body to feel fresh and the mind as well. You never know if that's going to pay off or not, but you learn from experience. That has helped me before."

Sweet tooth

Sharapova, who opens against Hungary's Melinda Czink, has only gone past the third round once since her US Open title - a fourth-round run in 2010.

But she's confident she can summon her top form one more time this year.

"This is the last big one," she said.

"This is kind of where you have to put all your energy. Even though it's not the last tournament of the year, you feel like this is where you can put all the work and effort into one big event.

"It's big. It's New York. There's no reason why I shouldn't perform my best here. I absolutely love it with the craziness and the fans and the late-night matches."

Sharapova added some sweetness to the mix this week with the launch of her new Sugapova candies, an 18-month project including gummi bears, gumballs and licorice that she hopes to push globally starting in 2013.

"Originally it was something that I was going to be a part of, then I thought I really wanted to own this," she said.

"I really wanted to invest my own money into something, make all the final decisions.

"It was really funny and young and full of energy. And then I put candy together and God knows how much candy I eat. I do hope it goes into chocolate and caramels and all that, but for my body I really hope not."


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