Maria Sharapova is back to No. 1 for the first time since 2008 before having shoulder surgery. On Thursday the Russian defeated Czech Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-3 in Paris to reach her first French Open final which pushes her ranking up to the top spot as of Monday.
“It’s pretty special,” Sharapova said of reaching No. 1 again. “A few years ago after my shoulder surgery, I don’t know if I had a ranking, but it was over 100. And I thought `Well, I did it one time. So maybe again, I can try to do it.'”
“Itâ€™s just amazing to be back in this position of being world No. 1 again. Not yet.Â On Monday.Â But nice to know it happened again for me.
“I was in a position a few years ago where I didnâ€™t quite know if I would ever be here again on this stage playing professionally.Â And not just at that, but at a level to get to No. 1 in the world and a first Roland Garros final for me.
“So a very special day, no doubt.”
Should Sharapova win Roland Garros on Saturday she would complete a career â€œGrand Slamâ€ having won Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. Sheâ€™s be the 10th woman to complete the feat.
“I always dreamed of being on the final stage here and finally have that opportunity,” Sharapova said. â€œI’m more than excited.
“Itâ€™s a long road back; itâ€™s a long process.Â Itâ€™s a lot of days of frustration and uncertainty not knowing if youâ€™ll ever get there, not knowing how much you want it, not knowing whether it would be a moment like that for you again.
“So thereâ€™s definitely a lot of tough things you have to go through to get to this point, but when you get here and you look back at the things that you did and the work that you put in and the toughest days that you can remember, itâ€™s all really worth it.
“Because, I mean, I have played tennis since I was four years old.Â I committed myself to this sport.Â Iâ€™ve always loved what I did.Â When it was taken away from me for a while, thatâ€™s when I realized how grateful I was and how lucky I was to be playing it.”
No. 2 seed Sharapova will face 21st seed Sara ErraniÂ who upset Samantha Stosur in the final on Saturday.