Sharapova's SF post-match interview
M. Sharapova Interview - Day 10
Thursday, 6 July, 2006
Q. All the off speed balls she fed you in the third set, how much of a problem was that for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just making a lot of errors coming in. She forced me to come in, forced me to hit a good approach shot, try to make me hit a good volley. Especially in the end, well, beginning of the third set, I would try to come in. Sometimes didn't have a lot on the ball and she came up with some good passing shots. Sometimes just made sloppier errors from the approach shot.
Q. Her serving and volleying, did that catch you off guard a little bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, she served really good in the first set. But when I got a good hit on it, felt like I did a pretty good job, but felt like I could have made her volley a little bit more.
Q. You put up such a fight. Did you feel that maybe you might have the edge in that final set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I think in both games I had 30 Love and I had, you know, chance to get back to one all in the third. Had many opportunities and just didn't go my way. You know, at 4 0, you know, at that point you're just trying to win a point. You know, I was just trying to do that, got back to 4 2, and she just came up with some really good serves at 4 2, yeah.
Q. What's your overriding emotion now? Is it disappointment or pride that you took it to three?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, after every loss it's disappointing. But, you know, every loss teaches me a lot. Obviously, there's a lot of things that I'm gonna need to improve to beat the top players. You know, that basically shows that when you play against top players. But, you know, I look forward to, you know, coming back, working on those things, working with my weaknesses and coming back and playing her again, as well as other top girls.
Q. You go fairly deep, like in the second week, in several Grand Slams over the past couple years. Do you think the next step is a bit of a mental block or something?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it's definitely not a mental block. Nothing today or my previous matches have anything to do with mental. Uhm, you know, against Justine in Australia, I thought I was very physical. I definitely felt like she was a lot fresher in the third set. You know, today it was just a few errors here and there in the beginning of the third set when I did have the momentum going in the third set and, you know, making a few unforced errors when I shouldn't have made them.
Q. What do you think you'll learn from this match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, that I need to be patient against top players. You know, when you have your opportunities, you got to take them. Uhm, you just especially in the third set, after having the momentum, there was no reason for it to just go the other way all of a sudden, you know?
Q. What will you be working on now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, what I will be working on? I don't know. At this point I don't want to think about it.
Q. You talk about playing the top players. With your ranking, you would be considered a top player yourself. How big a gap is there between where you are and the top 1 and 2?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. You mean points wise?
Q. In what you have to do to cross that gap.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Lots of practice, lots of work, you know, on my fitness, on my volleys, you know, coming in. You know, there are a lot of things that will help me play against top players but, uhm, you know, you always are gonna have your chances no matter how good or bad your opponent is. You know, I thought I had chances and, you know, sometimes she just came up with the good serves or, you know, I missed an inch or two here and there goes the match, so...
Q. You feel that there's a distance, that you're still not a top player yourself, in your definition of a top player, then?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Why would you say that?
Q. Well, just simply because you're talking about what you have to do to beat the "top players." With your ranking, you would consider you're already a top player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I consider top players top 10 in the world, top 5 in the world. Those are the players to beat, especially in the semifinals or finals of Grand Slams.
Q. This is a tough process for any player to come in after a tough setback like this.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's not really a setback though.
Q. Isn't Wimbledon the most important tournament for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it is. Of course it is. I've always said it. But, you know, I take every loss as a new beginning, you know, to improving new things. It teaches me a lot. I'm gonna go back on the court and I'm gonna work. I'm gonna keep working until I get better at those things. It's definitely not a setback.
Q. How do you manage to achieve that? That's a wonderful frame of mind.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just got to go and do it, you know. Sometimes talk is cheap. It's a matter of going out and doing it, you know. In a few days, I'll be back on the practice courts, and that's what it's all about.
Q. How soon will you be back on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I don't know. Maybe a week, few days, yeah.
Q. What's the US Open Series plan here? How many tournaments do you want to play, and how are you going to space them out so you go into the US Open with the maximum amount of court time and rest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, my first one will be San Diego, so I have three weeks from now. Uhm, two weeks of good practicing. But, uhm, I'm not sure. I mean, I actually want to try to play three in a row maybe, then have a week off, then go into the US Open. But see how it goes. I mean, if I feel healthy, I'm gonna definitely try to play three.
Q. Are you looking forward to getting that first electronic line calling one right, right?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm gonna try (laughing). Don't remind me of that.
Q. She long had a reputation for being fragile mentally. Obviously, LA, Australia, has changed it. Have the players or do you yourself have a different view of her now, of Amélie and how she handles tough moments?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, going on court, you can never think of that. I mean, you can never think of what she's done in the past or what she's achieved or what she's not good at. I mean, I got to look at the present. I got to look at what's in front of me. If that happens... You know, unfortunately it didn't. It's just the way it is. But I don't when I go on court, I don't worry about that. I don't think what she's done in the past or what she's achieved.
Q. Who's, according to you, the favorite for the final?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Doesn't matter at this point for me. I'm out of the tournament. Tournament's over.
Q. You were talking about being more patient. Were you conscious of that on the court? When you had the time out by the cameras, were you trying to tell yourself to be more patient or did you think about that after the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I don't know. I mean, I didn't come off the out of the match and say, I need to be more patient. I think it was just a fact against someone like Amélie, you just got to do it. You know that she's gonna make you hit another ball, and she chips lots of balls back. You know, sometimes I went for a little bit too much, and sometimes I felt like there was nothing on my ball coming in on those approach shots because that's what she tried to make me do. She was hitting serves 110, 111. She was just hitting them back, chipping them back, waiting for me to come in and making me hit a volley. I felt like I just sometimes wasn't doing enough on those approach shots, or was doing too little.
Q. We now move well beyond the halfway point of the year. What kind of results would you have to have to have it be a successful year for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, I'd love to win the US Open. That's definitely my next goal.
Q. Are you going to hang around London for a little while, or head straight back out?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I'm gonna head out to Topshop tomorrow. Gonna go on a shopping spree. I look forward to that every single year (smiling).
When you believe, somehow you will. You will, when you believe.
Your mind will take you far. The rest is just pure heart. You’ll find your fate is all your own creation.
There’s so much strength in all of us, every woman, child, and man.
It’s the moment that you think you can’t - you’ll discover that you CAN.