Steffi Graf has told The Tennis Space that Maria Sharapova’s career grand slam has shown that she is “a complete tennis player with great talent, who is capable of winning on all surfaces”. Graf, who was speaking at a Longines event at Roland Garros, said she understood the difficulties and the challenges that Sharapova has been through after her shoulder injury and operation: “I know what that’s like, and I’m sure it’s been a big challenge for her. This is a great achievement for Maria.”
Graf on Sharapova returning to the top of the sport – she will be No 1 again on Monday morning. “I’m not surprised at what Sharapova has done, getting back to No 1 again after the problems with her shoulder, but I sure understand the difficulties of coming back from a serious injury. I’m sure that it’s been a big challenge for her coming back from her shoulder operation, but with the talent she has it’s not so much of a surprise. Her style of tennis is so powerful, and she is so talented, so there was always a chance that she would come back to this level.”
Graf on the significance of Sharapova winning all four grand slams: “To win all four slams, that’s a great achievement. If you win a few slams, that’s an achievement in itself, but if you win all the slams at least once, that shows that you’re a complete player, and your talent, as you’ve shown that you can win on four different surfaces. Especially nowadays, as three of the four grand slams used to be on grass, with the fourth here on clay in Paris, and now the tournaments are played on four different surfaces. So this is quite an achievement for Maria.”
Graf on what’s it like trying to deal with her, Sharapova, and other tennis players to cope with injuries: “It’s one of the hardest things for a tennis player. Early on in my career, I didn’t struggle with any injuries, and then I had problems with my shoulder and with my back. That was difficult. The knee then made it very difficult. When you know almost every hospital in every city, that’s not good. I have lasting effects now from my playing career and from my injuries. Every retired tennis player will tell you that it becomes harder and harder as the years go on. We just age much quicker than people who didn’t play tennis professionally. That’s definitely one of the most difficult parts of dealing with your body, not just at the end of your career, but after your career.”
Steffi Graf, a Longines Ambassador of Elegance, was speaking at Roland Garros at the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament.