Paris: Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said on Friday that the sport needed a star of Maria Sharapova's stature on top of the world rankings.

Sharapova took the top spot by reaching the French Open final and Navratilova, herself a former world number one and a winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, said the Russian deserved to reclaim a position she last held four years ago.

"She's a superstar, and it's always good if a superstar is at the top. Serena and Venus Williams haven't been No. 1 for a while," said Navratilova, who praised Sharapova's comeback from a shoulder injury.

"For Maria, coming back from shoulder surgery where most people would have called it a day, she stayed with it.

"I was really impressed with not just the physical and mental focus it takes to rehab, and believe and keep coming back and keep doing everything that you have to physically, but then to overcome the mental aspects of the game.

"Obviously she had issues with her serve after she came back with the bad toss and technique, and, you know, very predictable on the serve, double faults all over the place. She completely conquered it, and kudos to that."

(Agencies)

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