Tennis: Sharapova not thinking of world top spot

Maria Sharapova is keeping her feet on the ground over the possibility of wresting back the world number one spot from Serena Williams at the Madrid Masters.

Williams is also competing in the Spanish capital but the Russian, currently ranked second in the world, says the American is not on her mind.

Following her Stuttgart success last week, Sharapova said on Friday: "I don't want to think about it (the no.1 ranking) too much.

"It depends also on the other players. I can (only) control what is in my hands and try not to worry about it too much."

The Madrid Masters gets underway on Saturday with both the men's and womens events back on red clay after last year's controversial blue clay surface was banned.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal threatened to boycott the 2013 edition if organisers persisted with blue clay.

"I think we all know that last year was a very hopeful experiment and it didn't turn out so well for the tournament or for the players," said Sharapova.

"I think everyone kind of learned their lesson and we're back to normal now. It feels pretty good. I think it's quite heavy right now. I think also the conditions have been quite cold and muddy, so it's feeling a little bit thick.

"I think over time it's going to become a little bit faster."

Victoria Azarenka, who was runner-up to Williams in last year's women's final, also welcomed the return to traditional red clay.

"I think I prefer them better than last year," said Azarenka.

"I think they're adjusted really well. The clay is red, so we'll see how it goes during the matches. I came a little bit early to make sure I feel the surface, and it's pretty good."