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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sharapova Getting Used to Losing Tournaments

APMaria Sharapova
WIMBLEDON, England -- Maria Sharapova was gracious and upbeat in defeat, perhaps because she has had a fair amount of experience this year with such one-sided losses.

Still seeking her first title in 2007, Sharapova lost Wednesday in the fourth round at Wimbledon to Venus Williams, 6-1, 6-3. It was the Russian's earliest exit at the All England Club since she won the tournament at age 17 in 2004.

"It's always special being on Centre Court, knowing I've held that plate before when I was young," said Sharapova, now a sage veteran of 20. "I definitely know I have it in me. I have so many years ahead of me. I'll be back, and I'll be stronger, and I'll win it again."

First she must regain her championship form, and eliminate a recent tendency to play poorly in big matches. She won only three games against Serena Williams in the Australian Open final, won two games against Serena in a rematch at Key Biscayne, Florida, and won three games against Ana Ivanovic in the French Open semifinals.

In short, the year has been a disappointing sequel for the 2006 U.S. Open champion.

Sharapova has struggled with her serve, in part because of a nagging shoulder injury. She plans to undergo scans on the shoulder as a precaution and said she didn't know when she'd be fully healed.

"I've been able to play my matches almost without pain," Sharapova said. "It'll be important the next few weeks before the hard court season that I do a lot of strength work and keep doing the treatment.

"It's getting better. Next time I'll be on court, better watch out."