Photos: Best shots from the 2014 French Open women's final
PARIS -- Don't worry, Maria Sharapova is stumped too. With her 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 defeat of No. 4 Simona Halep on Saturday to win the French Open for a second time in the last three years, Sharapova can now count Paris' red clay as her most successful major. Asked if she had an explanation, Sharapova threw up her hands.
"I'm with you on that one," Sharapova said. "If somebody had told me that at some stage in my career that I'd have more Roland Garros titles than any other Grand Slam, I'd probably go get drunk. Or tell them to get drunk, one or the other."
It took Sharapova eight years since her breakout win at Wimbledon to conquer Paris. Now, she's made three straight finals and won it twice. Since 2012 she's 54-4 on clay and seven of her last eight titles have come on the surface.
"You're not just born being a natural clay‑court player," Sharapova said. "Okay, maybe if you're [Rafael] Nadal, but certainly not me. I didn't grow up on it; didn't play on it. I just took it upon myself to make myself better on it. There is no one else that was going to do that for me. I had to do the work."
The win capped off the toughest and most emotional run to a major title in Sharapova's career.
"It's incredible to be sitting here 10 years after my first Grand Slam win, and to think that I now have five," Sharapova said. "I don't know what else to say. At that stage you're 17 years old, and of course you think it was a great tournament, obviously. Can I do that again? Can I win more majors? You always have those question marks. So to sit here 10 years later and have five under my belt and to keep going, it's quite emotional. I'm still a bit speechless about the victory today."
That's ok, Maria. We'll just let the pictures do the talking. Here are some of the best photos from Sharapova's triumphant Saturday in Paris:
Claypova? The surface that was toughest for her to win on has now become her most reliable. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Halep managed her nerves to play one of the best women's finals in recent memory. (David Vincent/AP)
Sharapova will rise to No. 5 on Monday and has just 101 points to defend for the rest of the year. A shoulder injury shut down her season in August last year. (Michel Euler/AP)
This is the first Slam win under new coach Sven Groeneveld. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Halep will be No. 3 on Monday. When asked what she'll take away from the two weeks, Halep said "That I can play at very high level. I can play the finals without big emotions. I had incredible, two incredible weeks here. I saw that I can play good at the Grand Slam, because before I had pressure. Before the tournament in Grand Slams I cannot play my best tennis. But here I did, and I'm really proud of this." (Michel Spingler/AP)
"You are the one competing, but the team atmosphere is so important," Sharapova said. "They work so hard, and I really respect that." (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Sharapova's victory tour included a fair amount of bubbly. (Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
Sharapova on Halep: "I think you saw the level and the quality of tennis that she's able to produce and has been playing with throughout this whole tournament and this whole year. She certainly deserved to be at this stage. She pushed me to the limit today." (David Vincent/AP)
At three hours and two minutes, this was the second longest women's final at Roland Garros. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Victorious once again. "I know from the beginning of the tournament everyone came in my press conference, and the first thing they said, 'Well, you're going to be facing Serena in the quarterfinals. What a tough draw. What bad luck you have,'" she said. "We haven't even played the first round yet. So from that tough luck in the draw to being the French Open champion is a very nice feeling." (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)