View Full Version : French Open 2005 interviews

May 24th, 2005, 06:19 PM
First-round press-conference

Q. This was a tough match at the beginning of a very long tournament. Do you enjoy tough matches at the beginning? Is it a special game for you or does it have a special meaning playing a fellow Russian girl, one of the many Russian girls which are so dominant now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, when I came off the court, you know, I really thought these are the sort of matches I play for because, you know, I would have loved to win 1 and 0. That would have been great. But, you know, when you come off the court and you feel like you were losing the whole match, and all of a sudden you pulled it out, you know, it's those moments that you feel you've trained for and you work hard for. Just lucky to get through.

Of course, you know, playing other Russians is never easy. She's your compatriot. When you go on court, you just try to forget about my opponent, where she's from or who she is.

Q. With the way the draw is this year, are you confident you can get past the quarters as last year and maybe even win it this year?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always just play it one match at a time. I don't worry about how I did last year or what I have to do this year. I just worry about my next opponent.

Q. She was 3‑1 up in the third with one point for 4‑1. What did you think at that time? She kept running and running and running.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it was definitely tough. I mean, you know, when you're down a break in the third, you're just begging for mercy (laughter). But I just tried to fight it out and tried to find a way, just an opening. As the third set went on, I thought the conditions were a little lighter and the ball flew faster. I was able to hit shots that she wasn't able to run down.

In the first and second set, I felt like she was running down every single ball. No matter how good my ball was, it was coming back. In the third, I felt like everything seemed lighter and I could hit the ball and I got a good advantage from it.

Q. What does your father mean to you? Did he give you advice to win?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, my father is first and foremost my father. About advice, of course, he tells me what I need to do during the match or whatever. But, obviously, both my parents have sacrificed a lot for my career, my life. A lot of these great and bad moments, you know, we share together. Especially the good ones, they mean a lot to my family.

Q. There are certain players which play much better in hotter temperatures. How happy are you so far with the clay court season? In Berlin the weather was not very good. Andre likes hot weather.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, of course, I prefer when the weather is sunny and nice, nice to play in. But when the conditions are heavy and the ball doesn't go through the air as much, I think my opponents have a bigger advantage of getting the balls back, you know, bringing them back and having the points go longer and longer. That's one of the things that I need to work on. I can be impatient and I have to hit ball after ball after ball. No matter how long it takes, I have to know that I can hit an extra ball than my opponent.

Q. With all that said, there have been players who haven't radically changed their styles for the clay, like Monica, for example, would pretty much hit out and did win this tournament. Do you think you need to play more defensively or do you think you could pretty much play your style, be more accurate and a little more offensive?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: To tell you the truth, I can't really change my game when I go on any surface. I can adjust, you know, to do little different things, but I'm not going to change my game and all of a sudden become a typical clay court player that's going to get everything back. It's not in the nature of my game. There is no point in doing it.

I mean, of course, I realize that I have a game that's pretty powerful and pretty big. So on the clay, I don't get as much advantage as I would on faster surfaces. But I also, you know, know that as the years have been progressing, I feel that I can withstand longer matches and I can play longer points and come back and play a better point rather than last year where I felt like I was going to die.

Q. Given that Linetskaya is probably better than her ranking, she's 18, fast, has weapons, just talk about the quality of your own game and whether or not you thought, even though you were pushed, you did play a good match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think I played a good first set. I was letting her play her game. There's nothing on my balls. One, the conditions were heavy, yes. Another one, I didn't realize and I didn't change anything. When my balls were landing on the service line, I didn't improve anything.

In the second set, I think I had a little more pace on my shots and whenever you feel like you're hitting a heavier ball and deeper ball, you get more confidence and you feel like you can hit it over and over again.

Overall, I mean, I'm happy to get through the match, but I don't think ‑‑ I mean, it definitely wasn't the best match I played. When you don't play well and you get through these matches, that also means a lot.

Q. 2005 is very different in women's tennis than 2004 because the two strong Belgian girls returned strong. Do you enjoy that this year will be much more competitive?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. That's what the sport is all about. That's why I play it, is because of the competition. I love competing against top players, win or lose. I learn from my losses. And wins, you know, they're great because you know whoever you're playing is the top. That's why, you know, the championships meant so much to me because, first of all, you're playing against the best eight that are in the year, they've done amazingly, done the best in the year and you're able to beat them.

Of course, it's going to be more difficult already in the quarterfinal you're going to play against a very tough opponent, but it's normal. That's the way the game goes. I mean, nothing's going to be easy.

Q. Strong finish for you. Two double‑faults from deuce didn't help very much.


Q. What happens? Does your toss get low? Are you tired at that point? Going for too much on the second serve?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I just didn't have the timing on my serve today. I've been serving pretty good in practice. You know, whether the heavier balls today, I think in my practices the balls have been flying a little more. Today maybe in the first set I felt like I needed to go for more. Then the third set when I wanted to go for more, it was either going long or my toss was somewhere else.

You know, it's just one of those days where you just go up to the line and you feel that you're not serving your best.

Q. Obviously you've had some fabulous wins in your career. You mentioned you learn from your losses. If there were one or two losses that you learned the most from, what would that be and what did you learn?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think one of them was against Serena in Australia because it's a big disappointment to lose a match where you're one point away from being in the final of a Grand Slam. It's very disappointing. I think I just realized that, you know, it's a bad loss, but I was mentally really tough. The next week I came out and beat Lindsay in the final of Tokyo. I feel like I put that behind me really quick.

In the past I've had matches where, you know, I lose them and I think about them too much. I think what I did wrong and what I need to improve. I think as fast as you correct your mistakes and forget about the match, you know, it helps you.

I think in Australia, you know, it helped me a lot. I realize I'm not going to be able to win every single match, but I also can come back strong after losing such a tough match.

Q. Do you see Australia as more of a matter of your focus going off a bit or Serena stepping up?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt like I was just in control of the whole match and all of a sudden it just slipped away. I mean, it was too long ago. Really, there's no point in going back and talking about it.

Q. Overall how happy are you with your form at the moment? Do you think there's anything you should be improving on or could improve on?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, the serve for sure. I think tomorrow I'll be working on the serve a lot more, you know. Playing for two and a half hours, I was getting a better rhythm as the match went on. You know, there's not too much you can do with one day off in between your next second round. It's not like you're going to go and work six hours a day on something.

First round is never easy. You just have to try to improve things in the second.

Q. Top seed here. Lindsay hasn't really done that well in recent years on clay. Not a lot of talk about her. How dangerous do you see her? Do you see her as a threat to win the tournament?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think Lindsay can always be a threat. I mean, who needs to run around the court if you can hit aces all the time and hit big returns? If she's on, she's on. It's basically unstoppable just because of her power and the accuracy of her shots.

Q. You talked about being No. 1 at one of your goals. She said recently she's not concerned about No. 1; she's sort of detached from it. If she was concerned about it, she would have come over and played the European clay court season. Do you find that attitude strange or what do you think about it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just great, don't play and I'll become No. 1. Thanks, Lindsay (laughter).

She's had an amazing career, so I think at this point she's just enjoying herself. I mean, she's been No. 1 before and she's won Grand Slams. I think, I mean, just tell her in the next press conference to step back and give me the place (laughter). No.

Q. Andre has been one of your heroes, correct, someone you looked up to?


Q. He was a legend around Bollettieri. He's going through some tough physical times. A little bit of perspective on whether or not

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Did he lose today?

Q. He did. He got hurt and lost the last two sets. Could barely walk through it. Do you think athletes in general can stay around too long? As good as he's been, do you think there's a proper time for people to walk away from the sport?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It really depends on the individual. It's so hard to say. It depends on your physical condition. That has a lot to do with it. And also your desire to be out there and still compete and enjoy it at the same time, and wanting to improve every single day.

But when you wake up and you feel like you just don't want to do it ‑‑ I mean, there's a difference between waking up and saying, "I'm really tired, I don't feel like going and playing today." There's another difference where you just wake up and you feel like you've had enough. You've had a long career, you've had a great career.

At this point I can't really say that about myself (laughter). It's not that long. But it's hard. It really depends on the individual.

Video interview:

Josh B.
May 24th, 2005, 06:53 PM
Thanks andrew

another top report as usual mate! :worship:

May 24th, 2005, 07:36 PM
I agree, Andrew is quite proficient in the art of copy and paste.

Josh B.
May 24th, 2005, 07:47 PM
:p he is the one who spends the time doing it though Edward! ;)

May 24th, 2005, 07:54 PM
:p he is the one who spends the time doing it though Edward! ;)

I'd do it but I'd be wasting all of......2 seconds..... of my time doing it.

Josh B.
May 24th, 2005, 08:03 PM
I'd do it but I'd be wasting all of......2 seconds..... of my time doing it.


give andrew a break though, hes the master of report copying!

Andy Mac
May 24th, 2005, 10:04 PM

May 24th, 2005, 11:59 PM
I dont see the harm in having Andrew post all the interviews here :shrug: :D
Makes them all easy to find and at least its tennis content in this forum for a change ;)

May 25th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Great work Andrew keep it up. Nice insite from Masha

May 27th, 2005, 11:28 PM
Video interview:

Transcribed interview:

Q. You must be pleased with the game today and I guess also so far with Paris this year.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was great. You know, early on, third game, I sort of twisted my ankle. My next game I felt it a little bit. So I was a little distracted from it. But it got better after that game. I just tried to find a way.

I mean, she had nothing to lose, and she was just going for her shots. Some balls were just too good. But I finally started feeling a good rhythm out there, began playing better.

Q. It gets harder and harder. The predictions are for hotter weather. You must feel right at home, living in Florida? You like hot weather?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I enjoy the weather. I think it's a lot better than when it's cloudy and a little rain like it was in the previous rounds. So this weather is definitely better for all the players, I think.

Q. The three surfaces ‑ clay, grass, hard ‑ how would you rate those in your preference of favoritism?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Grass is probably my favorite. Hard is up there, as well. It depends on what kind of hard. There are different sorts of hard. You have indoor hard, which is more of a carpet. That can be fast, but also slow. But clay is more of a challenge for me, for sure.

Q. You have so many endorsements. Of all your photo shoots, which has been the most fun? Which have you enjoyed the most?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: The most fun has been the one for my perfume. I shot it in New York about a month ago with Patrick Demarchelier, one of the most famous photographers. That was really fun. I think that whole process of making my perfume has been the most exciting just because it's totally mine and it's inspired by me, and my name is on the box. You know, the whole thing is me. So when people buy it, they know it's just totally inspired by me, whereas with other companies, you know, it's their product and I'm endorsing it.

I think that was the most fun shoot I've done in a while.

Q. So once your perfume comes out, will people perform better on your video game if they're actually wearing your perfume?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, they'll get more energy from smelling it (laughter).

Q. What was the photographer's name?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Patrick Demarchelier.

May 29th, 2005, 03:40 PM
Video interview:

Transcribed interview:

Q. You won very easily today, but are you happy with the way you played?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I am. I thought I got to a really good start, and I was in control from the first game. I felt like it was a pretty tough first game, but after that I was pretty much in control.

Q. How do you feel the field is opening up for you now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think as the rounds go on, it's going to be a lot tougher than it is right now. So I know that as the matches go on, I have to raise my level another notch.

But I guess when you play a tougher opponent, that naturally comes and you naturally raise your level higher.

Q. Talk about the second week mentality at Grand Slams and how you approach them.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just everything's tougher ‑ the matches are going to be tougher, you're going to feel physically more tired. But, you know, the tougher it gets, the more prepared you have to be.

So mentally and physically, it's more draining. It's tougher, of course. But that's what it's all about, and that's how the best, you know, are the best.

Q. Are you naturally fired up? Do you have to try to keep yourself a little more composed so your game goes the way you want it to?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I can be pretty down on myself sometimes. I think that's one thing that I don't want to be doing, because there's really no point. I just try to tell myself, "Keep calm even though things are not going your way." You just have to mentally be ready and be prepared to fight it out and do whatever you can.

Q. After Venus' defeat last night, do you think women's tennis has seen the best of the Williams sisters right now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's so hard to tell. I don't know. I really don't.

Q. Do you look beyond the French to Wimbledon at all?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I just take it one tournament at a time.

Q. So you're into the last 16. It's a little inappropriate to ask why clay is your most difficult surface, but perhaps you can talk a little bit about that.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, why, because the ball doesn't fly as fast on this surface. A lot of balls are brought back, and I just feel that ‑‑ I mean, I'm a lot better than last year, but I still don't think I'm patient and I still need to be more patient. I need to realize that I can't go for winners that quickly.

Some balls are not so comfortable to go for. I feel like sometimes I hit too much of a flat shot when I need to, you know, just bring it back, because really my opponent is in the same situation where not every ball is going to be a winner.

Q. Do you enjoy playing on the clay?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do enjoy it. I've said this before, I think it teaches a lot about the game and it shows my weaknesses. These are the things that, you know, I'll look back on a tape and I'll see the things that I need to work on.

Last year, that's exactly what happened. You know, I felt like I was playing really good tennis, but in the quarterfinals I just ‑‑ you know, I felt like the conditions were really heavy. But I was really slow and I wasn't moving well and I was tired.

Yes, it was my first time in a quarterfinal, but that really showed me what I need to work on, that experience, that mentality toughened me up for the Wimbledon.

Q. Just going back to events of yesterday evening, did you watch Venus' match against Sesil?>


Q. Were you surprised to hear the result when you were told it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think Sesil can be very dangerous at times. You know, when I played her in the first round of the Australian, I knew it was not going to be an easy match. She qualified and she can, you know ‑‑ I think she still has a lot of things to improve in her game, but, I mean, she's already got big weapons and she has big ground strokes. She can work a lot on her serve.

But, you know, at 15 years old, when you have weapons already, of course, you know, it's not gonna be an easy match.

Q. Early in the week we were a bit surprised when Roger Federer told us he doesn't think it's a very good idea for the US Open to have replay, as you probably know they were planning to do so ‑ still planning to do so. One of the reasons, he thought it was a knee‑jerk reaction to the Serena Williams‑Capriati match from last year, which he said at that time in the third set really didn't have anything to do with the outcome, so why are we having replay. What are your views on replay?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it can definitely help the game because as you see on the clay courts, when an opponent doesn't agree with the shot, the umpire can just go and check the mark and there you go, there's the proof.

So if it's accurate enough and if it is, then that is why we are going to use it; if it's not accurate, there's no reason to use it. But if it's accurate, I don't see a reason why. It's just a person's not going to go into a press conference and say, The umpire cheated me on that. You're not gonna have an excuse anymore. I think that's great because the game deserves to be fair.

Q. Has your life changed more or less than you thought it would have done since you won Wimbledon?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely changed more. That's a fact.

Q. More than you thought it would?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely. Well, I never thought about it. I never thought of winning Wimbledon at such a young age. Of course, when you don't know what to expect, everything takes you by surprise, especially the win.

Q. Following on from that, have you had to grow up extraordinarily fast carrying that Wimbledon championship, being more easily recognized, dealing with fame?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. But I think naturally I've been able to handle that. I think from a very young age, even though I didn't win Wimbledon when I was 15, a lot of people were expecting a lot from me. A lot of people thought that I was gonna do great ‑ maybe not at such a young age, but they always thought I would.

I've always been pretty mature with things. I realized that tennis is my No. 1 priority. I realize that I also have, you know, a lot of different opportunities in my life as well, but I know the balance between those things. And I've just ‑‑ you know, I have an amazing group around me that has taught me also to be mature and, you know, has guided me through life, especially my parents. So that's very important.

Q. I saw you were wrapped with tape from yesterday. How is that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I sprained my ankle in my previous match at the beginning of the match. It was all right. But yesterday it was really sore. So it's still sore. I felt it was okay with the tape today, but it's something that I have to tape every match now I think.

Q. What's the hardest part for you of fame to deal with?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm... just walking around with a few more bodyguards than before. I usually don't like to walk around with people that have to protect me, but now it's just become normal and something that I've had to deal with.

I've always ‑‑ you know, I've always been a pretty independent person, and, you know, when you have too many people around you, I wasn't really comfortable with it at first. Then, you know, it's just natural. I don't like it when the bodyguards have to push people away from me to walk. I just ‑‑ you know, at the beginning I felt like I was just too much of a prima donna. You just have to realize that it's just part of the game, it's for your own protection.

Q. You're considerably world No. 1. What's more important to you: Being world No. 1 or having $10 million in the bank?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think when you become No. 1, you'll get a lot more than $10 million in the bank. So that's not a problem for me right now (laughing).

May 31st, 2005, 01:29 AM
Video interview:

Transcribed interview:

Q. You were off in a flash there. Talk about what you were thinking about last night, then coming on court. You didn't get a chance to take your sweats off and, boom, it was done.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Actually, it's never easy. It's never easy coming back after ‑‑ to being a set up and then being up 3‑1 and all of a sudden it becomes 3‑All. You know, it's going to be a different match from there.

But I guess I just ‑‑ I was playing the right way yesterday. I just ‑‑ when the rain started coming down, the conditions got a lot heavier. I was rushing it a little bit.

I guess it was good just to have a good night's sleep. Wasn't thinking about too much. Just another game, I guess.

Q. Can you get a good read on your own form? Whether you play Justine or Kuznetsova in the next match, it's going to be different. Do you think technically your game is at a point where you can really challenge them on clay?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I've been playing a lot better in my last two rounds than I did in my first two. I've actually been feeling a lot better. I know it's definitely going to be a tough match either way. You have to expect the best.

You know, hopefully I'll go out and just, you know, be even tougher and play even better than I have. That's the only way to go.

Q. Strategically if you're playing them on hard courts or grass, it's a different match. But here, given the weather change, it's going to be a little bit damp, a little bit cool, how do you approach either of them when you know they're going to try to grind you down?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's going to depend on the conditions. If the conditions are going to be heavier, I think, you know, a lot of the points are going to be long with both opponents, because they play pretty similar games. Both move pretty well around the court, you know, have heavy balls, good serves as well.

I mean, it really depends on the conditions. Depends if sometimes I can go for a little bit more if the conditions are lighter and the shot will be a winner or if it's going to be an easy put‑away. If the conditions are going to be heavier, I think I have to be patient on extra balls, keep grinding. Hopefully, I'm ‑‑ I feel fit enough to be able to do that. It's just a matter of mentally going out there and doing it.

Q. Lindsay came in here. Obviously, you guys are in a different stage in your careers. She's 10 years older than you. You play with similar styles. Yesterday she went out against Kim, middle of the second set she's fighting, fighting, but she still stuck for the most part with her same style. What works for her works for her. Is that pretty much the same situation for you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think that's a great example of, yesterday's match, just different things can happen on clay. I think everyone thought that Kim was going to be the favorite. You know, that was pretty obvious. I thought it was going to be a tough match. But I think with the way Kim moves and the power on the clay she has, I think ‑‑ I thought she was going to win for sure.

But, you know, it's ‑‑ there are a lot of things in tennis mentally and physically. She was up a break in the second, wasn't she? All of a sudden things turn around.

It's not like Lindsay all of a sudden started playing a different way. She's just playing the way she's been playing for all her years. If she could win that match, I think a lot of these girls have a chance of playing good clay court players and still playing their game and still winning. It's not just a physical game out there.

Q. With all the matches you played over the last couple years, all the big tournaments, going into this next match, do you still have the fire where you're saying, "I just want to get out there and kick someone's butt, I really want this match, I want this title"?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. Of course, I have that mentality with every single match I play. You know, if I go on the court and I feel like I just ‑‑ I don't want to be out there, then there's really no point in going out there. I mean, there are times when you're tired and you physically feel fatigued. But I'm usually mentally always ready for every single match I play.

Q. But does it give you a bigger charge being in a Grand Slam and that there are numerous people who don't think your game has developed enough on clay to really do major damage.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I never thought I needed to prove anything to anyone. You know, I think I'm getting better and better. I've said this before. If people underestimate me on clay, then, you know, they'll be surprised (smiling).

Q. You did not bring your eyeglasses today, but you still look pretty. How do you like to make up and dress well and to feel beautiful?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, God (laughter). How do I like to dress up?

Q. Make up, dress up.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't ‑‑ I mean, I'm a girl. Every girl likes to dress up. Every girl likes makeup. Every girl wants to look good, of course. I don't know. I mean, that's such a not‑tennis question (laughter). I don't know.

Q. Hopefully you've still got a way to go in this tournament. Are you signed in for Birmingham and Eastbourne? Will you play those tournaments before Wimbledon?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know yet. I don't know which one I'm going to play yet. I just want to finish this tournament. Depends how I do here. Depends how I physically feel, stuff like that.

Q. Are there any specific things you really like about playing on clay?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Even though I suck at it, I like to slide (laughter). It's pretty fun in a way. When I was younger, I always liked tennis because it was such a cat‑and‑mouse game there. There are ways to trick your opponent.

That's why I love players in the past like Rios, I was such a fan of his, because he would just make of fun people. He would just laugh. You know, someone dropshot‑ed, lobbed, then laugh at the end of the point. And on clay, it's more fun I think. I know it's more grueling, but it just makes the game so much more interesting.

Q. Your agents want you to be a global product. How do you feel about that? You've just turned 18. Isn't it a bit young to be a global product?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Unfortunately, it's too late because I think I am a global brand at this point. I mean, I think I'm mature for my age. I don't think any other 18‑year‑old ‑‑ I mean, there are a lot of actors and actresses, but, you know, I don't think there are a lot in sport that have had the opportunity or have been able to be called, you know, a global brand. Of course, it's an amazing feeling. But what has brought me here is not just a brand, but my tennis.

As long as I keep winning, then I'll become a more whatever anyone wants to call me. But as long as I know that on the court that I'm the big brand than anywhere else, then...

Q. When you see the Williams sisters, particularly Venus drop off, is that sort of a cautionary thing for you? Do you think about trying extra hard to stay at the top and not have a drop in your level?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think there are always going to be times when you're going to drop your level. I don't know if it's going to be physically or mentally or pressure or no pressure. There are going to be times in your life when you're not going to feel like anything's going for you, you know, on the court, off the court. It's impossible to be perfect all the time. It's impossible to be at the top of your game all the time.

I mean, it's just ‑‑ I guess it's life. It's like a lifecycle. There are going to be a lot of good moments, you're going to have a big winning streak. Then all of a sudden, you know, you might be feeling great, but you might not be getting the good results and you might be feeling down. You just never know.

But tennis is such a diverse sport and there are a lot of things that can cause losses and upsets and wins. I mean, you know, one point can change the whole match.

Q. Do you think that's what you've learned the most in the last year, with a high like winning at Wimbledon, then the disappointment of Australia against Serena?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think those ‑‑ there are going to be different sorts of moments. I mean, there are going to be amazing moments and there are going to be moments where it's going to be a really, really tough match and you thought you won it, but you lost it. You know, it goes on. You have another tournament next week.

Marie Waggedorn
Jun 1st, 2005, 05:25 PM
"It's not like Lindsay all of a sudden started playing a different way. She's just playing the way she's been playing for all her years. If she could win that match, I think a lot of these girls have a chance of playing good clay court players and still playing their game and still winning. It's not just a physical game out there."

Smart girl! :D

Jun 3rd, 2005, 01:34 AM

Transcribed interview:

Q. It was the same story as in Berlin; you still have to move better in clay? It was Justine or yourself, how do you see the match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it had nothing to do with movement today. I think she served a lot ‑‑ a lot better than I did and she got a lot more free points than I did. And it was really close in the first set, and then I just went for too much at the wrong times.

But there were a lot of positive things from today's match: I came in a lot more than I did in the match in Berlin, and I felt like, you know, I had more confidence as the match was going on. And in the second set, it was just I had issues, she was putting a little more pressure on my second serve, and I went for too much on my serve and didn't have a good percentage in the second set for some things.

But it's just the way it went.

Q. Did she surprise you at all with some of her ability to handle your returns and power you're producing?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's hard to say because I know she's played a lot of matches on clay. She feels the ball, she sees the ball well. And it's also a matter of seeing the ball and how she reacts to the ball. And I think, you know, with having said that, she just has a lot of confidence.

You know, you hit a big shot, and she can come up with a heavier shot, with a tougher shot, closer to the line. You know, she made great dropshots at, you know, very important points, and that just comes with confidence, having played, you know, a lot of matches. And, you know, she's on a big winning streak. I think that, you know, is giving her more and more confidence.

Q. Were you surprised she seemed like she's so fresh? She's played a lot of long matches the last couple of days and has a leg problem, too.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, in Berlin it was the same situation: she played three tough matches and then came out and played some of her greater tennis against me. I think when an opponent expects a tough match, they're always going to be ready. That's just the way it goes, and you just have to be prepared.

Q. Now that you won't be going to Wimbledon as the world No. 1, do you think in a way that takes a bit of pressure off of you because you're already going as the defending champion?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't have any pressure at all. I'm just, I mean, I'm back on grass. I ‑‑ you know, I'm gonna have so many great memories again, and just to be back on grass and playing where I feel really, really comfortable. I don't think I'll have any pressure. It might change once I get there. But at this point, I'm just so excited. It's going to bring back all the really good memories and I'm really excited to be going back.

Q. It doesn't make any difference whether you're No. 1 or not; being defending champion is enough?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's already a big achievement. No. 2 is also a great achievement, so...

Q. So the work you've been doing with your father and Michael in Ferrero's academy in Villena, you think it's important, you will go on? Because there you train on clay or also hard court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, there I train when I have, you know, when I have a few weeks in between my tournaments. That's sort of my, I guess, like a stopping point in Europe. When I have a week off in between a tournament, I go there. But they don't have any grass courts so, you know, now I have to go to England to practice there.

But, you know, it's great. Of course it's great preparation just because it's so quiet over there and the facility's great, so...

Q. I read in some information that you used to like a lot Pippi Longstocking? I also like it. I buy to my niece.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe we should start a book club (laughing).

No, I think the reason why I said that is because I'm a huge fan of kids' books. I just think they're ‑ I don't know ‑ they always make you smile and make you laugh. They always make you think like there's no negative things in life. You know, they just make you look towards good things. I don't know.

I mean, when I go to bed, I love to read that book. It's just so fun. Then I have good dreams. I don't have bad dreams (laughing).

Q. Your win at Wimbledon was a great victory. But afterwards, you had a cell phone meltdown and could not reach your mother. Are you going to work on your mobile phone logistics?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm prepared now (laughing). I've got my phone.

I don't know about the service on Centre Court, but I hope that Motorola has talked with Wimbledon and I hope maybe the service is good.


Q. We all know Justine is very strong on clay. She has a couple of more years on the tour. Are there any strokes she can handle better than you do? Are you envious of her strokes?>

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not envious of anyone. I think she has a great game, and for her height and what she's able to do, and coming back match after match and being so tough. I mean, it's also a mental game as well as physical.

But she's ‑‑ I mean, she can produce a huge variety of strokes from a flat shot to a heavy shot. And on clay, I think she has the time to do that, and that's what makes it so dangerous.


Q. Were you more nervous about this match, bearing the game of Berlin in mind?>

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I wasn't nervous at all. Why? Did it show as I was nervous?


Q. Just wondering how you were feeling. >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I wasn't nervous at all. I thought I started off really well.


Q. How big a disappointment is this loss?>

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Every loss is disappointing. I'm sure you hear that from every loser, but that's the way it goes. I can't win everything. Today, I didn't win. There's always going to be a winner and a loser, and today I'm the loser. So, you know, of course it's disappointing going home and thinking I'm a loser, but it's all right. There are going to be a lot more days where I'm gonna be a winner, so that's totally fine.


Q. Justine seemed to take advantage of dropshotting and of your movement, which isn't the best part of your game. She was able to thwart your power. Is there any player that's able to expose weaknesses better than Justine right now? >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it's easy to say, when a person's serving 180 kilos (sic) every serve, I mean, of course you're going to see a weakness. I mean, you can't return it. So it really depends on the day. I mean, I could have played a totally different player today and the player might have been playing ‑‑ might have been just in the Top 100 and might have went out and played an amazing game and I would have thought, you know, I'm weak or I feel like one of my strokes is not going well.

But I just went out and played against a tougher opponent than I was. You know, either it's ‑‑ I mean, there's no real point in going into details, because if, you know, she didn't serve that well, maybe the match would have been different. So, I mean, it's really hard to say.


Q. Have you decided what you're going to do for the grass court season now, where you're going to play? >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I'll play Birmingham.


Q. You'll play Birmingham? >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think so, yeah. I usually like a week off before a Grand Slam. So probably. Do some retail therapy in Paris and then go to... (laughing).


Q. You've been through a lot in your life, you've been through a lot of places. Justine has been through a lot the past couple years. Can you talk about her journey and the kind of respect you have for what she's done. >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I don't know the exact details. But in the past, I mean, she was out for so long and obviously really sick. So, I mean, when you're ‑‑ tennis, of course, is a very important part in life. But when you realize when, you know, someone is sick and someone thinks that they don't have a chance of getting back on the court again, they feel really bad.

I mean, and being able to achieve what she's achieved after that is absolutely an ‑‑ it's really incredible and really amazing. So a lot of respect for that. I mean, it's ‑‑ it's easy saying it in a press conference just sitting here. But I think, you know, once you get through it, and just in life in general as well, when you're younger and when you, you know, get through tough times, you know, in those situations where she was.

But those situations make you stronger, and these moments for her, you know, winning, are going to mean more. Because, I mean, I've been through a lot when I was younger and she's been through a lot. You know, it's an amazing, amazing achievement for her.


Q. Justine said she thinks that tennis is a mental game and always the winner is mentally stronger. Do you feel like, having lost mentally also today of her? >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, that's a good question, because I wasn't mentally or physically tired today. I just thought maybe, you know, when it was really close, I felt like I had to do something extra. And I don't know if that's mental, or I felt like she was, you know, putting too much pressure on my serve. You know, it can be a lot of things. I don't know.

But I totally agree. I mean, tennis is 90% mental. It is. I mean, if you can ‑‑ I mean, I understand if like Ivanovic's case, first time she's been in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. Physically and mentally she's never been in that situation. It's really draining, especially mentally.

I was in the same situation last year. You know, just second week of a Grand Slam, you're, you know ‑‑ you just had too much of everything. And, you know, that comes with experience and years.

But today I ‑‑ I don't know, it's hard to say.


Q. Maybe she wanted to win more today than you? >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I mean, every match I want to win as well. I just thought she played a lot better than I did, you know.


Q. Do you see anyone who can stop Justine winning this tournament? >

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think ‑‑ I would be surprised if she didn't win it. I would really be surprised. I think with the way ‑‑ if she keeps her level up, and the way she played today, I think she has a great chance.


Q. How do you deal with the transition of going from clay to grass?>

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I don't know. I just ‑‑ I just hit on it a few times and I feel good (laughing). I mean, it's a lot faster and, I don't know, I just feel more comfortable on it. So, you know, when you're excited to start, you know, training on something, you know, I guess...

But we'll see. This is just talk so...