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Tennis: Wimbledon 2004: Sharapova loses out on line call.

Byline: LEE McLAUGHLAN at WIMBLEDON

WIMBLEDON champion Maria Sharapova was left speechless - after failing to celebrate her shock victory with mum over the phone.

The 17-year-old Russian beauty, who was playing in her first grand slam final, found that technology could not match her stunning play as she swept aside defending champion Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 in just 73 amazing minutes.

After emulating Pat Cash and clambering up to the player's box to celebrate her remarkable win with her father in a moment of raw emotion, Sharapova stunned the Centre Court crowd after she caught a mobile phone and immediately started to dial her mum, only to be left stumped.

'It kept switching itself off and I didn't know what was wrong,' said Sharapova, who added the Wimbledon title to her DFS triumph at Edgbaston Priory just three weeks ago. Sharapova, who was separated from her mother Yelena for two years after she moved to Florida, paid tribute to her family - particularly her father Yuri - after their rags-to-riches tale.

'Mum and dad have been with me through the good times and the bad,' said Sharapova, who became the second youngest champion in the open era after Martina Hingis.

'We've been through this together, my whole career.'

But she singled out her father, who took her to America as a nine-year-old with just $500 in his pockets.

'I know how tough it is to watch from the box because I have had that experience and playing is a lot easier, believe me. I owe my father so much.'

CAPTION(S):

SWITCHED OFF: new champion Maria Sharapova on the phone and (inset) celebrating with her father and agent
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 4, 2004
Words:276
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