Maria Sharapova blew her usual kisses to the crowd after her third-round match at the French Open on Saturday but said she did not feel obliged to spend more time than necessary entertaining them.
Sharapova’s outings have been fleeting this week as she has dropped only five games en route to the last 16, and she thrashed Chinese Peng Shuai 6-2 6-1.
The 25-year-old Sharapova has spent a total of two hours and 54 minutes on court over her three matches.
On Saturday, it took the Russian 66 minutes to subdue her 28th-seeded opponent on a sunbathed Court Philippe Chatrier with another display of power and accuracy.
“The last thing that’s on my mind when I’m going out on court is thinking about who paid for a ticket and how long they’re going to watch my match for,” Sharapova told a news conference.
“I’m not sure if that’s selfish or not, but my job is to go out on the court and to try to win.
“Whether it’s 6-0 6-0, whether it’s a tough three-set match, you’re trying to do what you have to do and play as well as you can.”
Sharapova, twice a semi-finalist on the Parisian clay, will next face unseeded Czech Klara Zakopalova.
Things, however, are likely to get tougher.
“I’m certainly happy with the way I performed in those rounds, in those matches, and followed through. I did everything I had to do,” said Sharapova, who will reclaim top spot in the world rankings if she lifts the Suzanne Lenglen Cup next Saturday.
“But in the next round, it starts from 0-0. Whoever you’re playing, you have to go and try and do the same thing.
“There are a lot more rounds to go. It just gets tougher from this point. And you hope as the tournament goes on that you raise your level, that you get better.
“You’re going to be facing tougher opponents, you’re going to be maybe facing two three-setters, and you just have to be ready for that.”