Maria Sharapova reveals WTA star she wants to win her first Grand Slam

Maria Sharapova at 2023 US Open

Maria Sharapova has highlighted Ons Jabeur as the WTA player she hopes wins her maiden Grand Slam title because the Tunisian star “deserves that so much.”

The five-time major champion also lauded US Open winner Coco Gauff as the “full package” and backed her to handle the ups and downs of tennis “brilliantly.”

Jabeur is widely considered to be one of the best current WTA players to have not won a Grand Slam title, having reached three major finals.

The 29-year-old was beaten by Elena Rybakina in three sets in the 2022 Wimbledon final in her first appearance in a Grand Slam title match.

The Tunisian then fell to Iga Swiatek in straight sets in the final of the 2022 US Open, before suffering a surprise straight-set defeat to Marketa Vondrousova in this year’s Wimbledon championship match.

The world No 7 downed Diana Shnaider in the final of the WTA 250 tournament in Ningbo today to claim her first hard-court title.

In a recent conversation with former world No 9 Andrea Petkovic for the Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, Sharapova revealed she is supporting Jabeur to make her major breakthrough.

“I’m rooting for Ons to win her first Grand Slam. She deserves that so much,” declared the Russian.

The former world No 1 hailed Gauff, who recently won her maiden Grand Slam with victory over Aryna Sabalenka in the 2023 US Open final.

“I have been saying for years that I think she has the ability to transcend the sport into so many [areas], bridging entertainment, sport and culture, and fashion,” said Sharapova.

“She has such a great voice and is an amazing competitor, which is just like the full package. And it came together for her in New York City. I think her journey has been interesting. From the age of 16 she has been the prospect and the target and everyone believed that she would get there.

“It’s perhaps taken a little bit longer but I think for her that may be helpful because it took a few years to figure it out, as opposed to coming out on top at the very beginning and then being so surprised by everything that comes her way. She has a great team and the genuine support from her parents is very evident.

“It’s a beautiful story. Does that mean she is going to go out and win every Grand Slam? This is sport, that never happens, you end up losing a few more than you win. But those wins are very special and I am sure she will handle the ups and downs brilliantly.”

The WTA great, who retired in 2020, also discussed her experience of motherhood, having welcomed her first child Theodore in July last year.

“I became a mother about a year ago, which I think was one of the greatest accomplishments that I’ve ever experienced,” said the 36-year-old.

“I have an entirely new respect for motherhood and parenthood and just that this is the moment of how you like you know your body is experiencing completely different, your mind somewhere else.”

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