Maria Sharapova admitted she felt ‘fine’ physically during a defeat to Magdalena Rybarikova but suggested she would not have competed in the Kremlin Cup if it was not based in Moscow.
The 30-year-old Russian won her first title since returning from a 15-month doping ban in Tianjin on Sunday but was unable to follow up her success just days later after a 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 loss.
Sharapova was well supported in her home country throughout but was unable to produce the goods as she went down in straight sets after an hour and 55 minutes, much to the delight of her Slovakian opponent.
But while Sharapova was pleased that she came through the match physically, she confessed her preparation was perhaps not the best.
‘I felt fine physically, to be honest, especially after having played five matches in five days. That was a big surprise,’ Sharapova said after the defeat.
‘Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.
‘Maybe if this tournament hadn’t been in Moscow, I wouldn’t have played it.’
Rybarikova – who reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2017 – was delighted with the result, in what was a partisan atmosphere due to her opponent being on home turf.
‘It was very difficult for me, because it felt like Fed Cup,’ she said.
‘It’s absolutely normal, Maria is a huge superstar here and she’s a real champion.
‘I’m happy that I went through this match, and it’s good for my confidence. I’m very happy with that.’