This content was published 10 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Maria Sharapova is reaching peak form at the right time as she looks to defend her Internazionali BNL d’Italia title and perform at the French Open. The Russian claimed a narrow but effective 6-3, 6-4 win over Venus Williams to book a semi-final spot.
Sharapova believes the secret to her success is restricting herself to no more than 17 tournaments a season in order to get the right balance between rest and play.
“I have had a similar schedule since I got on tour it has worked,” said the second seed. “I am never a player that has played more than 16 or 17 tournaments a year, whether because I wasn’t healthy or not. It isn’t the quantity but the quality and so if you can’t do a tournament just to get the points. I didn’t change my calendar and I kept to the same.
“I am very happy with the way I played today. I haven’t played Venus in a long time and in the last few times I played with her I lost but is obviously good to be in the Semi finals here and this point in every match is very tough. It’s good to see a player like her back and playing and being healthy and she is a great player and competitive.”
Sharapova refused to be sympathetic to Victoria Azarenka’s plight, after the top seed pulled out of the competition before the third round stage with a shoulder injury, and defended the right to fine players who pull out of competitions.
“She is probably injured more than any other player and to be number one in the world and be able to play a full schedule,” said Sharapova. “I think last year she had more retirements that anyone but played a full schedule and after two days retirement you would see her practicing and so it’s tough to know what her state is and what she is feeling.
“Personally, if I am injured however big or small the fine is, the body is no support for me and if this is the tournament where you have to participate or get zero points. For me the health is the most important thing, if I am healthy then I can go on court and beat someone and not go and save whatever money and I pay the fine.
“We have a new system of new rules and mandatory tournaments and its very successful because all the top players attend. Sometimes all the top players are not there because some players get injured but sometimes you have to pay a little out of your pocket and not play.”