Thrill Of Competing Driving Sharapova
Published April 30, 2014 12:13
How do the WTA's best players bring the intensity of a match into their practice sessions? Well, according to Maria Sharapova, they don't. Or, rather, they can't.
In the heat of battle, few can match Sharapova's steely-eyed focus, but no matter how hard she tries, replicating this in training sessions is a futile exercise.
"I think there's really nothing that replicates that match atmosphere" the 27-year-old said during her run to the title last week in Stuttgart. "Of course, you can work on drills, think of it mentally like you're playing in front of thousands of people but then you look around and there's no one really there!"
However, as her bulging trophy cabinet testifies, the Russian has no problem switching it on come match time.
"I've always been pretty good with adjusting because I have a lot of experience with that," she added. "I think of the chance of going out and playing in front of a lot of people or playing in a match is actually a reward because it gets a bit boring practicing."
So while practice may get repetitive from time to time, the buzz she gets from competing, and, more specifically entertaining, is what drives the four-time major winner.
"I always look towards the competition. I look towards that excitement thinking 'wow, people are going to be watching what I've been doing.' That's why I practice.
"You're an athlete but you're a bit of an entertainer as well. People buy tickets to watch you play and that's the reason we're out there. Of course, you're always going to feel a bit nervous but it's a mix of that with excitement."