Monday, 22 June 2009
Q. In Paris you played with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. As far as
your level of fitness is concerned, are we seeing Maria almost a hundred
percent or getting close to it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think there's still work to be done. I think, uhm,
all the matches that I've been playing have really helped me, you know,
definitely not just with my tennis but also physically, you know,
getting used to the movement on the court as well as, you know, moving
on two different surfaces.
But, uhm, you know, I always feel like I move pretty good on grass.
Q. The other day you spoke of probably not being ready to go all the way
at this particular event. How much more do you think you need to feel
confident in your status right now to feel that you are ready to go all
the way here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I think it's just a matter of a few things coming
together. Uhm, you know, you never really know.
You know, sometimes you produce good tennis, but it doesn't work out the
way you want it and you come out with a loss. Sometimes, uhm, you know,
you don't produce exactly the right tennis that you want to, but, you
know, sometimes you win.
And, you know, in tennis, there's a very thin line between winning and
losing, and, you know, sometimes you just got to rely on the work that
you put behind you. You got to go on the court and trust that whatever
you've worked on, you know, is gonna work out there.
Uhm, you know, it's just the combination of a few things coming
together, you know: body feeling good, you know, playing good, moving
well. You know, I'm just glad, you know, I pulled through today.
Q. How much did you learn about your game and how far along you are in
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I played against a really solid opponent, you
know, who went for many shots and who's just being really aggressive,
you know, playing like she didn't have much to lose, which she didn't.
And, uhm, you know, I knew she already had, you know, three good matches
in qualifying, so I knew that she's already played on grass. You know,
her game suits the grass pretty well. She can definitely be a really
But, you know, if she can keep that level up the way she did in the
first few games for two or three sets, then sometimes it's just too
good, you know.
But I was only down a couple breaks, and I knew that the set wasn't
over. You know, I got it back, and then just hung in there in the
Q. You said in the last tournament that you weren't able to put
everything into your serve. How long will it take you to get that back
to normal, do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, you know, I think definitely time. I don't know
how long. You know, I don't know how long till everything comes
together. You know, that's why I'm here. You know, if I knew, maybe I
wouldn't be here. If I knew I wasn't going to be at this tournament,
maybe I'd be home just waiting till I knew when it would come.
But, you know, you never know how you're gonna feel. You know, you look
forward to the daily challenges that come your way. And, uhm, you know,
I think everything is gonna take time, you know.
Q. Is it a matter of lack of confidence going flat out or is it just
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, it's funny because sometimes I'll be in the
middle of the match and I'll find myself thinking, like, the progression
of the shoulder, how it's feeling. Uhm, obviously that's because I
haven't played in so long and because the shoulder has, you know, just
been the focus in so many areas, you know, on a daily basis for the last
couple of years.
I think it's also just a matter of forgetting about it and just playing,
Q. In all that time in Paris on the clay, is it a comfort to come to the
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I think my game, you know, suits the grass a lot
better than the clay. But, you know, with that said, I also feel like
the grass has changed in the last few years. It's definitely not playing
as quickly as it did when I won here in '04.
You know, there are many balls that come back. You know, the mentality
that you have here now has to be similar to the clay. You know, you got
to expect many balls to come back, and not every ball's gonna be a
winner. I think the ball bounces clearly much lower than it does on
clay, and that's why the serve and return are key.
Q. What aspect of your game are you most pleased with today? Is there
something you plan on working on specifically at your next practice
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, look, I hung in there. You know, like I
said, if she was able to continue at the level that she was playing in
the first few games where she was just swinging away, everything was
deep and hard, sometimes it's just too good.
But, you know, I was able to give her a little bit of her own medicine
there. You know, I just stayed consistent. You know, I made her play an
extra ball. You know, I thought I returned pretty good today. Her serve
stayed pretty low.
Yeah, I mean, there are definitely things I'm going to be working on the
next, you know, day or so. But that's always the case at every single
tournament. You always ‑‑ I mean, if you feel perfect, then there's
Q. You were away for so long. What did you miss the most about
professional tennis? Now that you're back, what do you miss about having
a normal life away from tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe you can read my transcript from the interview I
did before the tournament, because I listed a few of the things that I
But, you know, I'm a big competitor, and I love going out on the court
and competing. I love having a challenge in front of me. And, uhm, I
didn't feel like I had ‑‑ obviously getting back on the court was a big
challenge when I was away from tennis, but I didn't feel like I had that
big of a challenge.
You know, whereas on the court, uhm, when you're playing in front of a
crowd the feeling is completely different, and you realize that's where
I belong. You definitely miss the feeling of being in those situations
in the hours before the match, the days before, knowing that you're
gonna be playing, you know, at Wimbledon or the French Open.
Uhm, and as far as what I miss about playing... Well, I spent so much
time at home, more than I have in my career, you know, that even though
I've been on the road for a few weeks now I don't really miss much. I'm
just so happy to be on the tour. You know, whatever I takes, as many
matches as I can play, I'm happy.
Q. When a player wins as much as you have...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Wins what?
Q. Anything. Matches, titles. Isn't it difficult at times not to focus
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's not so much results; it's knowing what
you're capable of and always, you know, thinking that you should be able
to bring it at a certain time, at a certain point in the match.
Uhm, but not so much right now. Not at this point in my career. You
know, like I've said, and I'll say it again, I mean, I'm so thankful. If
someone told me four months ago that I'd be here playing Wimbledon, you
know, I mean, I wouldn't be surprised, but I would be really happy about
the fact. And I am happy to be here.
Q. You played both Venus and Serena here on grass. Can you describe the
differences of their games on this surface.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I haven't played them on grass in a while, so...
I actually haven't played both of them in a while. So I don't know. I
Q. But you've played them before on this surface.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. What is the difference in how their ball comes back to you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, they're both very aggressive players, and they
have a very powerful game and big service games, big return games. You
know, they're just one ball steadier, and have been in the last few
years, than the rest of the field.
Uhm, but I don't know. I can't really specify the differences because I
haven't played them in a while.
Q. Do you think women's tennis could benefit from becoming best‑of‑five
sets? Any reason why women shouldn't be playing best‑of‑five?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I've never played best‑of‑five. I don't
know what that would feel like or what that would look like. I don't
Q. What does Wimbledon mean to you? What's so special about this
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, a few things. I think it's a little bit different
than any other tournament in the feeling of where you're playing. To me,
it feels like this is where tennis is meant to be played, for some
reason. It feels very traditional.
You know, we only play a couple tournaments on grass. You know, when you
get on it, it's just a feeling of, uhm, to me excitement because I've
definitely had, you know, wonderful memories here and good results in
the past, ever since I was a junior. You know, winning obviously helps.
Winning unexpectedly definitely helps.
But, you know, it's the little things like, you know, living in a house,
you know, having a normal key instead of like the hotel key, you know,
cooking your own breakfast, I don't know, making your own tea. You feel
like you're a little bit ‑‑ it's a little homely. Everything is close if
you're in the village. You don't have to be in too much traffic, unless
you're staying in London.
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