Maria Sharapova expressed her frustration at being able to consistently find her best level, as she suffered another disappointing Grand Slam result in 2018.
The Russian has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of a major during an up and down season and put in an error-strewn display against Carla Suarez Navarro to tumble out of the US Open.
Sharapova averaged two unforced errors per game against the Spaniard in a 6-4 6-4 loss on Monday night – a result that brought an end to a 23-match unbeaten streak under the lights in New York.
The 31-year-old confessed she didnt have the answers to why her performances continue to fluctuate, philosophically claiming its a work in progress, but she couldnt hide her disappointment in blowing a glorious opportunity for a deep run at a Slam.
When asked what was concerning her most about her game at the moment, she replied: I think not being able to consistently put up the level from one match to another, stringing obviously in a span of hopefully a total of seven matches during a Grand Slam. Its just a little too up and down.
If I didnt have the belief to keep doing this and to keep having the motivation and the grind of doing this every day in order to get myself in these positions, I dont think I would be here. I think Ive done plenty in my career, established a lot for myself personally, professionally.
Yeah, the belief is not something that Im eager to show everybody else. The belief matters most when its internal and when you have a passion for something.
If you dont, its your choice to not continue that, not for anyone else to tell you so.
Despite her frustration in her performances, Sharapova rejected the notion that this was the most challenging period of her career.
Yeah, you know, whats challenging is when youre a teenager and you have a few hundred dollars and youve got no sense of the future, you dont know where youre going to end up, the five-time major winner added. You just have a dream.
I think thats a lot tougher than being 31 years old and having the opportunity to do whatever I want in my life.
Suarez Navarro, meanwhile, was delighted to deliver herself the perfect 30th birthday present with a shock win.
I mean, well, when I wake up, I just was thinking on that match, she said. I just want to win.
I mean, was a really good present for me. I was playing also last year same day against Venus Williams, and I lost.
This time I dont want to feel like last year. I want to have a happy birthday, and I have it.