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Sports Then and Now

Maria Sharapova Claims Career Grand Slam

Posted on June 09, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Maria Sharapova joined elite company with her French Open title.

With her dominating victory in the 2012 French Open finals, Maria Sharapova became just the sixth player in the open era of women’s tennis (10th all-time) to claim the career grand slam. However, while each of the other five posted double digit victories in each tournament, Sharapova has yet to win any of the championships more than once.

Since emerging on the scene as a 17-year-old with a victory over Serena Williams in the Wimbledon Finals in 2004, we have been waiting for Sharapova to become the dominant player in women’s tennis.

The 6-foot-2 inch Sarapova certainly has the size and power to be a dominant player, but injuries and an inability to maintain her game at the highest level has kept her from being consistently dominant.

She won the 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open before a shoulder injury hampered her over the next two years.

Sharapova reemerged as a top five player in 2011, but was unable to win a grand slam title. She reached the semifinals at the French Open and finals at Wimbledon, but lost both matches in straight sets.

The 2012 season began with another trip to a grand slam final, but again Sharapova couldn’t reach the summit as she fell to Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-0.

However, a strong spring, including wins in the Porsche Grand Prix and the Italian Open brought her to the French Open and the number two player and pick of many to win the title.

She did not disappoint as Sharapova dropped just one set in rolling to her first French Open title.

Steffi Graf won each tennis grand slam event at least four times.

Of the other five players with the career grand slam, each had at least one major where they won at least five titles. The player with the greatest multiple numbers was Steffi Graf, who won each of the four majors at least four times.

During the open era Margaret Court won the Australian Open four times and the U.S. Open and French Open three times each. However, when you include her wins during the days when only amateurs could compete for the titles, she won the Australian Open a record 11 times, claimed the U.S. and French Opens five times each and Wimbledon three times.

Serena Williams won the Australian Open five times and Wimbledon on four occasions. Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon a record nine times and after originally struggling to win it, claimed the U.S. Open four times. Chris Evert won the French Open a record seven times and also claimed six U.S. Open titles.

It will now be interesting to see if Sharapova, back as the number one player in the world for the first time since 2008, can build on her title and start a streak of dominance similar to those other great champions.

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