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Sharapova dons white tuxedo top for Wimbledon

LONDON (Reuters) - First came Serena’s raincoat and Roger’s cardigan. On Tuesday it was time for Maria Sharapova’s white tuxedo and shorts as she upped the fashion stakes at the world’s most famous tournament.

Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after defeating Stephanie Foretz of France in their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 24, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

The 21-year-old Russian said she wanted to do something classy for Wimbledon so she decided to step up a gear in the tennis fashion parade when appearing on court for the first time in 2008.

“It’s the tuxedo look. I was very inspired by menswear this year and every time at Wimbledon I want to do something classy and elegant,” she said after seeing off French qualifier Stephanie Foretz 6-1 6-4.

“This year I said why don’t we do shorts and I have never worn shorts before at a grand slam. There is a place to do it and that’s Wimbledon,” the former Wimbledon champion told BBC Television right after stepping off court.

At a sun-kissed Wimbledon on Monday, Serena Williams took to the court wearing a white raincoat. On a gloriously hot afternoon, defending champion Roger Federer opted for a white cardigan after two years sporting a white blazer.

Sharapova missed seeing Williams’ raincoat but loved Federer’s cardigan. “I thought that was classic. It was beautiful,” she told reporters.

Her post-match press conference was dominated by questions about fashion. Sharapova, relaxed and laughing, was happy to answer them all.

“I love how 10 of the questions are about what we are wearing. It’s amazing,” she said.

Working within Wimbledon’s strict dress code is a challenge she relishes. “You know it’s hard to do things different with white -- there’s only so much you can do,” she said.

Sharapova was clearly relieved to have got her first match out of the way at the tournament where she became an instant overnight sensation with her win as a teenager, the first of her three Grand Slam wins.

“It was great to get out there and get a feel for Court Number One. It was my first match on grass this year so I did pretty well considering,” she said.

“You never know what is going to happen. You can have a great practice week, you can have a terrible practice week and then go out on court and things can feel totally different.”

She even found time at the end of her press conference to wish Russia well in the European soccer championship after their defeat of the Netherlands in the quarter finals.

“I am so proud they got through that. It was kind of nerve-wracking when it was tied five minutes left into the game. You know we’re brave, we are strong, we work hard at what we do. Good things happen.” (Editing by Justin Palmer)