Watch this episode of WTA Live All Access Hour presented by Xerox from the BNP Paribas Open with new host Kristen Aldridge. See all your favorite WTA stars behind the scenes at this Premier Mandatory event including Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep. Sam Stosur also drops by the set.
Maria Sharapova insists that her decision to put her training on hold for a week to serve as an NBC correspondent during the Sochi Olympics didn’t derail her preparation for what has been, in recent years, the most important stretch of the season for her. The defending champion at this week’s BNP Paribas Open, Sharapova returns to the desert hoping to get a boost on her season.
“After Sochi, it was great to come back and get back on the court,” Sharapova said during a pre-tournament roundtable. “From the time I started training to the Australian Open and Paris, it was a few months on the court. So it was great to have a little bit of a break and then start again. I love this period of time with Indian Wells and Miami. I’ve been quite successful with it in the past and obviously a great memory here last year. So it’s nice to be back.”
Despite the time off, Sharapova believes the break in the calendar for her after the Paris Indoors worked out perfectly for her weeklong trip to Sochi. “I had something planned afterward, but I canceled it because it was a really tough week and I knew I needed to get back and start training,” she said. “So I put a limit on it at some point. And I knew that I had trained and played a few tournaments and I knew that was a time I could really take to go there.”
“I was just saying with Max [Eisenbud, her agent] that you don’t really know what the next level of tired is really. Because I’m so in my sport,” she said. “Of course it’s so physical and it’s challenging but you’re so used to taking care of your body, making sure you get enough sleep, and you eat right. And everything in that week was completely shattered. You’re not sleeping, you’re eating terribly, you’re drinking caffeine all the time to look like you’re awake.”
Heather Watson's run at the BNP Paribas Open came to an end in the second round with defeat by second seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
Watson, 21, had lost her two previous matches with the Pole, including at Wimbledon in 2012, and bowed out after struggling with her serve throughout. The British number three came back from 3-0 down to level the first set 4-4 before Radwanska's class shone through. But successive breaks kept her behind in the second and she never recovered.
Russian Maria Sharapova made a strong start to her Indian Wells WTA title defence on Saturday with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Julia Goerges. Sharapova, seeded fourth, needed just 66 minutes to get past the unseeded German on the Stadium Court of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"The first matches are always a little bit tricky, especially having not played in a few weeks indoor or outdoor," she said. "Tricky opponent, and she's capable of playing good tennis. She hasn't been as consistent as she probably would have liked recently, but she's had her results. "I thought I did what I had to do," Sharapova said.