Maria Sharapova says her second round loss to her vocal critic Eugenie Bouchard at 2017 Madrid Open is disappointing, but that the negative result will only make her stronger and win more title in the coming days.
Bouchard, the 23-year-old, had called Sharapova a "cheater" and said the Russian should have been banned for life after the latter returned to court at last month's Stuttgart Open following a 15-month-long drug ban. And when the two players were scheduled to meet on Monday in Madrid, the hype around the tie soared up.
Sharapova started the match on a high breaking Bouchard early in the first set to take a 4-2 lead. However, the Canadian youngster fought back and took the first set but was crushed in the second 2-6. With a steely resolve and booming returns, the former Wimbledon runner-up, mounted another comeback to stun the 2014 champion 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.
"Today was just not that day. Of course, I am disappointed. That is what is going to make me a better player. That is what is going to win me more tournaments and more Grand Slams," Sharapova said, as quoted by Today.
"I think I would be worried about myself if I sat here and said I am pretty happy with losing a tennis match, no matter who I face, no matter what round it is, whether it is the first round or final of a Grand Slam," the Russian added, when queried if she felt extra disappointed after loss to Bouchard.
"I am a big competitor. What you work for so many hours every single day is to be on the winning end of matches."
On the other hand, Bouchard, whose form had dipped after quite a few first-round exits in the new season, said she was motivated to give her best against Sharapova. The Canadian revealed she received good luck from quite a few in the tennis fraternity, who were against the Russian players' comeback.
"I was actually quite inspired before the match because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately wishing me good luck ... players I do not normally speak to, getting a lot of texts from people in the tennis world, who were just rooting for me," Bouchard said.
"I wanted to do it for myself, but also all these people"