THE MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. If we can please start with questions for Maria.
Q. No. 1, do you remember what Richard III said about wearing the crown?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not quite (laughing).
Q. I'll let you research that one. Now you're wearing a big No. 1 (inaudible).
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don't really think aiming wise, there's a big difference between No. 1 and 2. I think No. 1 is just an amazing achievement for myself. You know, it's something that I've worked my butt off over the last years and something that I've wanted to achieve ever since I started playing tennis.
So, you know, not many people can say that they're No. 1 in the world, so obviously it is an amazing feeling.
Q. Does it feel strange to be No. 1 this past week and now Lindsay is going back to No. 1 on Monday?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. You know, if I can have it for an hour, for a week, you know, just the fact that you're No. 1 is an amazing feeling.
Q. So give an update on the pectoral injury, how you're playing right now. You've had so few matches.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's doing better. I feel a lot better. I've been strengthening for the last two weeks, seeing the physio twice a day. I was in LA for the whole week the Toronto tournament was on.
I started playing mid week of that week and I've been playing well. I've been practicing quite well. But, you know, I don't expect myself to go out there and play my best tennis from the first round because obviously I haven't had that much match play. But, you know, physically I feel stronger. So, you know, we'll see.
Q. Are you hitting your serves and forehands the way you want to or are they less than what you want them to be?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: They've been getting bigger and bigger, yeah.
Q. A lot of people are interested in the women's field this year in particular; they think it's more open. Do you feel that way? Is it good for women's tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it more open?
Q. Yes. That seems to be the prevailing opinion. Do you feel that way yourself? Do you think it helps women's tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think most of the top players are playing, aren't they? So that makes it even tougher but that's what it's all about, that's why we're here, you know, for the competition. That's why I'm here. I love it when it gets tough.
Fourth round, quarterfinal, you're playing against a tough opponent. You know, the winner of the whole thing has to beat a lot of top players and if you're not willing to do that, then there's no reason to be here.
Q. What is it about this Grand Slam that kind of separates it from the other three for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think everyone is just hyper and everyone is excited about the tennis. We're in a really crazy atmosphere here. The fans are so different compared to anywhere else in the world.
But, you know, that's the cool thing about tennis, is we travel around the world and we get to play in different atmospheres and feel the different vibe.
Q. Do you come into this year's tournament here with a different attitude than last year? Last year you were coming off the high of Wimbledon. Maybe you changed things, improved things over the past year. Do you have a different attitude as opposed to a year ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think last year I won the last Grand Slam, I don't think I expected too much of myself from then. And, I don't know, a whole year of experience. It took me a few months to settle down after Wimbledon, so, you know, I haven't really shown New York how I can play, you know. I'm extra excited.
Q. Have you ever sat back and realized how quickly you've achieved this incredible goal you set for yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, way sooner than I thought it would be, definitely. Yeah, you look back few years, two, three years, you know where I was, and just this is amazing, yeah. It's unbelievable.
Q. Is it true you're 6'2'' now, or are you still growing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I try to say I'm 6'1" and a half (laughing).
Q. You've had such an incredible run with Wimbledon, the championships, now becoming No. 1. As you've got more and more successful, were there ever any times in your career when you've had doubts, and, if so, how did you deal with that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There are always times when things are not, you know, either working well, either on the court or off the court. Yeah, there are many days. It's not even about being a tennis player, it's day to day things, you know. You might feel like nothing's going your way, but, you know, somehow you just you have to get through them and just stay positive.
And, you know, now, whenever something's not working, I just think back about what I've achieved and, I don't know, there are a lot of those days.
Q. Is part of it the willingness to go back to the practice court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just looking, looking towards the positive, always thinking of ways to make it better if it's not right, always try to find a way to make it better.
Q. It took you a couple months to come down from Wimbledon. Do you have any fears there's going to be that same feeling coming down from No. 1? What did you learn from last year that can help you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think it's a little bit different situation. I think I won Wimbledon kind of, you know, I wouldn't say out of nowhere, but it kind of felt like that at that time, you know. I was the 13th seed. You know, it was very surprising. I, you know, didn't even know if I would make it to the semis.
But I think with No. 1 and 2, I mean, No. 2 is already an amazing achievement, but I think just to be No. 1 in the world, it's more for myself and just to know you've achieved it, you know.
I think it was a little bit different last time.
Q. You've had a big week in New York with the perfume and tennis dress and watch. How do you keep all that stuff in perspective and keep tennis the top priority? How do you balance all that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I came here a week early to get used to the conditions and set time aside for my corporate appearances. That's, you know, I love doing that once in a while, very fun. I got to launch my perfume the other day and my new watch that I designed. So, you know, it's fun. It's like the finished product. That's the day when you're like, "Okay, everything's put together now."
But it's very important to have a balance. I mean, I was on the "Today Show" at 9 a.m., then at 3 o'clock in the afternoon I was back on the practice court working for three hours and, you know, running on the treadmill and sweating my sweating like crazy. I'm thinking, "Jesus, three hours ago I was on the 'Today Show' with make up and I looked amazing and now I look like crap."
Q. How do you feel about being in the gossip columns, specifically regarding speculation that you're dating certain rock stars and certain tennis stars?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: How do I feel? Yeah, it's flattering, I guess, but, you know, I don't I'm not the kind of person that says, "Okay, I want to be on this page." You know, my intentions are to come to New York and be in that newspaper, this newspaper. I go and do my thing, do my appearances, not to be in a paper but if I am and if I end up at that place, then I'm very flattered.
Q. This perfume that you are endorsing, were you offered like alternative scents to approve or did they come up with one scent and say, "That's what it's going to be"?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I had to no, I mean, it starts from basically it's, like, my whole creation. I come up with the ingredients and the smell and everything. So it's not like they just gave me one and told me that I'm going to endorse it, no way.
Yeah, it was a very long process. It took nine months to actually put everything together.
Q. Nine months?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Speaking of putting things together, your hard court game, what has to go right for you, what do you have to do specifically on this surface to be able to achieve what you want to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I don't know, just play my game. You know, it's hard, it's really hard to say. Just things that I'm going to change, it's not like I'm going to change my game dramatically going from one surface to another. I think the courts are playing a little quicker this year than they were last year, and also compared to Home Depot they're a lot faster. So that goes to my advantage as well.
But it's always important to be on your serve and for it all to go well. You know, that's important if you can get a few free points.
Q. Does it make a difference to your players, yourself, to see the ball when it's day or night because of the color of the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The blue, the color?
Q. Does it help you see it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think I could play if it's black or red (laughing).
Q. The fact that you are No. 1 now, does it put any additional weight on your shoulders? Do you feel like now you have to win, especially with the other Russians.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, I don't think it really puts extra pressure on myself because, I mean, just going from No. 2 to 1. But just the amazing achievement of being No. 1, I don't think it adds any extra pressure, it has nothing to do with that. It's just the fact that you're No. 1.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
Sep 2nd, 2005, 04:30 PM
Video only: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2005-08-29/200508291125516209109.html (http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2005-08-29/200508291125516209109.html)
Sep 2nd, 2005, 05:00 PM
Video (questions in English followed by questions in Russian):
THE MODERATOR: First question for Maria, please.
Q. You do a lot of endorsement deals. Last night with Roddick's defeats, embarrassing for numerous advertisers you see around here. Is there ever a worry for you that perhaps the endorsement deals take away from your tennis time or could come back to embarrass?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I think when you do an endorsement deal, I think you and whoever you're going to endorse have to, you know, be in contact, have to communicate with what your schedule is like. They have to understand the sport you're in and know you're not always going to be a winner. There are going to be times when, you know, you're going to have setbacks. But that's the point of having a good relationship, is when you know they'll be behind you if you're losing or if you're down, if you have those times when things are not going that well.
Q. You've only lost three games so far. Talk about the way you handle pressure, how you handle expectations.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I kind of don't. I really don't handle them. I just don't think about it. I did those things at the beginning of the week. The last one was Wednesday night. You know, I had five, six days to prepare. I had my mind off of the things I did. But I understand that there are going to be times where, you know, especially before a Grand Slam, you need to set back some time and do these things for the sponsors. But I enjoy it. You know, like I said in my previous press conference, I think in the morning I was doing the Today Show, all being glamorous. Then I'm back on the court after three hours and I'm working hard. This is where I feel I really belong.
Q. Seemed so windy out there. Did it feel like you could get knocked over at times today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I really did. Like I said in the interview after the match, I said it's better I had a piece of cake yesterday or I would have been in that globe somewhere. I'm glad I gained a few pounds (laughter).
Q. You practice a lot down in Florida.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but it's never like this. This was pretty extreme.
Q. Was it tough trying to find the ball when you were serving?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, the first few games, you saw, I was serving 69 miles per hour. It's pretty funny. I think it's even funnier from TV because they can't even see the wind. These people probably think we look like beginners. That's the sad part.
Q. You said you've gained a few pounds, but you also still seem to be getting taller. Do you feel yourself getting taller?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I actually do. I feel like I've grown a little bit. But, you know, what can you do?
Q. Does it affect anything on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: On the court, no, not really. I think once you start growing, it's very important. Like I said, I had my back ‑‑ my background was because of the growing and my shoulder. You just have to make sure those parts of your body are strong, your joints are strong.
Q. Your parents aren't particularly tall. Do you have any idea where you get your height from?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have no idea. I've been asking. I haven't got a straight answer yet (smiling).
Q. No tall family relative?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not that they've told me. I don't know who to talk to.
Q. Are you ready to go to 6'2"?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I'm not going to admit it, even if I am.
Q. Are you trying to put on a little more weight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I was just joking.
Q. Do you feel you should put some more on to get more strength?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely not fat or cellulite. I'd prefer muscle, yeah.
Q. I met a lot of people that came here not to see really the game, but to see you. How do you feel about it? How do you feel about being like a superstar more than a tennis player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's very flattering. I don't necessarily think about it when I step on the court because the only thing I'm thinking about is my tennis. I hope that people come out and watch me for my tennis. But, you know, I can't control the reason why they come out. Not too much I can do about that. I'm a tennis player. With being a popular tennis player comes a lot of other things. That's part of it.
Q. On the subject of tennis, can you assess the way you feel you're playing right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think I'm hitting pretty well. I didn't have a lot of matches coming into this tournament. In the first round I felt really solid actually. Played better than I thought I would. But I know the matches are going to get tougher and tougher from here. You know, that's where you have to pick up your game.
Q. How did this get better, the pectoral muscle? How long did it take you? Were you pretty patient with it? Did it take longer than you expected?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It took about five days of no tennis. But, no, I'm not very patient going into the physical office every single day, twice a day. I was there for probably 10 days. By the end of that 10th day, I was just, "Get me out of here." But, yeah, it takes a lot of strengthening. I was, you know, in the office getting the machines on it and probably strengthening it for about two hours a day.
Q. Are you pretty confident with it now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. So far so good, yeah.
Q. Has it been hard for you and all the players this week, given the weather, to really work your way into the tournament the way you'd like to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There's no point in trying to think about that because you can't control the conditions. I don't think you will ever be able to control them. But just something that, you know, one day you're in windy conditions, the next day the conditions are normal. You just have to find your groove. It's pretty hard to find your rhythm when it's this windy.
Q. When you see somebody like Roddick go out early, it's a reminder that it can happen to anybody?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's tennis. It can happen to anybody. That's why we play the matches.
Q. Were you watching last night? Did you feel sorry for him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I saw a few games. I was getting a massage. Yeah, you know, like I said, it's tough. I mean, first round. The other guy played out of his mind, I thought. You know, you run into someone that good in the first round, it's tough. But this is life.
Q. How do you feel you played?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I was moving quite well in the first set and then second set I felt a little sloppy. You know, played a sloppy game at 4‑2 serving with the wind, made a few easy errors. But other than that, came back strong. She hits pretty flat, so it was a little different compared to the other opponents I played in previous matches.
Q. Was it hard after she was dealing with the injury, she couldn't seem to move and then picked it up again quickly?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I tried not to worry about it. Just tried to focus on my own thing. You know, if I start concentrating on what my opponent is doing, if she's moving well or not, then I start to wander around.
Q. There were times during the match you seemed pleased with the forehand. Other times you seemed not so happy. Talk about that particularly, how you feel about it.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I've been working on trying to see the ball a little bit better, you know, during the matches. Today sometimes, you know, I was in position and sometimes it seemed like, I don't know if it was her rhythm or something threw me off, I just made some easy errors. I was trying to get myself to see the ball better.
Q. Do you want to talk about Mirza a little bit? She's been one of the real up‑and‑comers. Nice breakthrough, hard hitter, lot of personality. Is that a match you're looking to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's gonna be another tough one. I haven't really seen much of how she plays. I heard she's got a big and powerful game. You know, you just have to go out there and see how it goes. It's hard to predict things, but I'm sure it's going to be a good match.
Q. Who scouts that for you, Robert or your dad?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not Robert. My team. You know, my dad, Michael.
Q. Does it matter, too, now, with players you haven't played that your team gets a good look at how they play, or are you concerned about your rhythm, how you're serving, how you're returning?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's kind of different. The last two opponents I haven't played before, and the next one, too. You just have to see how they play and, you know, my team has seen some of the matches before, previous tournaments, so I'm sure I'll get a few ideas. But, you know, it's not too much. I mean, I'm not the kind of person that takes a lot of advice, I just usually do my own thing unfortunately.
Q. What kind of shape is your game in overall? You haven't played a lot in the runup to the Open.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, I feel pretty good. I haven't really been in that situation where I haven't had too many matches going into a Grand Slam, so something new for me. But I felt really good since the first match. I've been moving a lot better. Feel stronger. You know, just a matter of when the tough matches come, just see how I adjust.
Q. Were you a little nervous coming in because of the lack of match practice?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not at all. I was just excited to finally get out on the court.
Q. I was reading an interview with Larry Scott. He talks glowingly about your success. He makes it seem as the key to the WTA's success is your success. Do you feel like you're carrying them on your shoulders?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't really think about it. I'm glad he thinks that way. He doesn't tell me, you know, he doesn't tell me that I'm, you know ‑‑ I'm the head of the sport. So he doesn't put that pressure on me.
Q. He does in print, I guess.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: (Smiling).
Q. You don't seem particularly excited. Is it because you're just so deeply concentrated and focused on the task right now? Or is something else going on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Excited? What do you mean, excited?
Q. Positive, happy, upbeat?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, I'm upbeat. I just haven't gotten interesting questions yet (laughing). Sorry, guys.
Q. So what would you ask yourself that would be particularly interesting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no, no, I'm just joking. You know, I'm just ‑‑ I just give you answers. I don't know. Sometimes I'm in a better mood than other days. Of course I'm concentrated, yeah, focused.
Q. Are you as locked in as you would be at, say, Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I'm trying to be really focused here. This is an important event for me, definitely.
Q. Is it harder to do New York because of so many other things going on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, at Wimbledon there's also a lot of things going on around. But, obviously, here it's different. You know, the city's busy and there's a lot of hype. So it's just a matter of just finding your own balance, you know, having some time to yourself and actually just, you know, without so many crazy things around you.
Q. After the first week of The Open this year, can you assess how you're playing relative to your expectations?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think I started off really well from the first match. I was really ready. It was a bit unexpected because I didn't play a lot of matches coming into the tournament, so I thought I would be a little rusty at the beginning. Surprised myself in the first round, that's for sure. Played a tough opponent. That gave me more confidence. Playing good.
Q. With a score of 6‑2, 6‑1, but how do you rate Sania?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she's definitely great for the sport. You know, tennis is a very global sport. It's amazing how we have, you know, such great athletes. She's very young, has a great future ahead of her. Very big game. But of course with time, I think she needs experience, you know, she'll learn.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Sania Mirza's fourth-round press-conference (video and transcription):
I highly recommend watching the video. Sania is so cute and charming. :hearts:
Dr. Andrew Broad
Q. The expression on your face at the end of this match seemed to say, "I'm glad this is over with and I'm getting out of here with a win."
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, because after the second set I didn't feel like my game was there. I felt like I was making too many errors. Mentally I wasn't there. I just didn't have any motivation. And then I just, yeah, I wasn't fighting out there basically in the second set. It's like I was giving it up, you know. I felt like I thought the match was just one set, you know, I won the first set and I felt like for some reason it was over. You know, she's not going to give it up. You know, then I started playing better in the third. Had great passing shots when I needed them to break her.
Q. What did you say to the chair umpire when you wanted the let played on the ball that went into the stands?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I said that the ball bounced ‑‑ that the ball bounced on the court in the middle of the point, and she said she did not see the ball. And I said, "Well, there's 20,000 people in the stands that saw the ball except you and I think we need to replay the point." She said, "I didn't see it."
Q. It came from behind you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I can't put a third eye on my left side, so not too much I can do.
Q. You seemed very emotional, trying to pump yourself up. Was that unusual? Were you just trying to get motivated?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, I don't think I was there in the second set, you know. It wasn't Maria that you usually see on the court, fighting out there, fighting for every single point. I was just mentally kind of down and, you know, just said, "Hey, got to get back to work now."
Q. Could it possibly be that you had four matches which you went through pretty quickly out there, the first four rounds, and it's always nice to be able to cruise into the quarterfinals but she had a fairly tough match in her fourth round against Vaidisova. Could that have been a factor where she was ready for something tougher, where you were looking at your first tough match of the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I knew it was going to be tough. I came out hitting a lot of winners. I felt like I was playing great. You know, she broke me once, all of a sudden she started playing well. She started, you know, hitting the ball, hitting good shots. And, you know, all of a sudden you stop and you think "What happened? I was up 4‑0 and now it's back to 4‑All." I mean, coming into the match I knew it was going to be a tough match. I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park. This is the quarterfinal of a US Open.
Q. Is she a tough opponent for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: She has a very big game and, you know, she has a big serve. If someone's serve is on, I guess there's not too much you can do. But, yeah, she does, she has a big game for sure.
Q. She made a comment, she said that she thought that after the bathroom break you didn't seem like the same player when you came back.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: After which one? I went to change in between.
Q. I think it was the first one.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The first one, well, I had to go to the bathroom since the first game so after that, you know... I don't know. Maybe I just let it all out, I mean (laughing).
Q. You feel that you came back, you know, there was nothing ‑‑
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Did she mean in a good way?
Q. Just a comment she made. After the bathroom break...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I started playing better or worse?
Q. I think she said you were playing worse. You were strong, had a bathroom break, for a period of time you didn't seem like you were the same player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: So after the bathroom break I was playing better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Worse. I don't know.
Q. After the break.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, so I was...
Q. That's why she was wondering, what happened during the break.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was actually a pretty quick break. I mean, the bathroom is right outside the court, yeah.
Q. If you play Venus Williams, given how she has been playing since Wimbledon, what do you see as the biggest challenge in going up against her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just have to be mentally ready for a very tough battle. Every single point is going to be long and it's just a matter of who wants it more and who is willing to be out there longer.
Q. How would you compare and contrast your styles?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, we both hit a pretty big shot. I think we're both really tough. We don't want to lose out there. But I don't know.
Q. Can you talk more about this final game. You were so close to being 5‑5 in the third set. You were able to battle back and pull out the match. What was going through your mind?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's kind of why I had the ref at the end because, you know, it would have been a totally different match. Who knows what would have happened at 5‑All? But, you know, just hung in there and, you know, I know she got a little bit tight serving at 40‑15; she made a double. Then hit a pretty easy backhand, I think. And I was, you know ‑‑ hit a good return on matchpoint, she hit a great serve wide. I managed to get it back. You know, her ball was a little bit out. That's the way tennis goes. You know, sometimes it goes in; sometimes it goes out.
Q. It really was a sensational final point. Were you thinking "backhand side" and guessing more where she was going?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think her best serve is down the T, I would say. But she likes to mix it up. She likes to mix it up in the ad court. But she has a big serve. I mean, either way it goes, it's pretty flat. But she can surprise you once in a while, and I think I was leaning towards that and that's why I was, you know, I was kind of on the run.
Q. You were saying earlier you were trying to figure out why you didn't have any motivation. How did you feel coming on to the court? Did you feel good, did you feel sharp?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I mean, I started at 4‑0 playing great, so of course I felt good. But, you know, things can turn around really quickly. Momentum can change. You know, just felt like there were a lot of up and downs. You feel like you're playing good, you make great shots, then all of a sudden, you know, things don't go...(inaudible). You're making errors, she starts picking it up, you know, she starts playing a higher level. I don't know, I just felt it was up and down.
Nadir Pitrova's quarter-final press-conference (video only):
Dr. Andrew Broad
Q. What happened? You were able to get it going during the tiebreak when she was serving for the set, you hit those points. What was going on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I kind of gave it all I had in the tiebreaker. Then the third, just kind of ran out of gas basically.
Q. You've got to believe there's something unfair about a sport that ‑‑
THE MODERATOR: Excuse me, sir. Thank you. Next question, please.
Q. You fought so hard to get back in the third set. You played great points to fight off the matchpoints. Talk about after you come out after the bathroom break.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, at that point it's pretty tough because physically I didn't feel like once the points were getting longer, obviously, it was at Kim's advantage.
You know, like I said, physically, you know, I still have to get a lot better and, you know, I have to play these three‑setters. You know, the points are going to go on and on and on.
You know, this is not something that's going to happen overnight. I'm only 18 and this is going to take time. My body is still growing and still adjusting, you know, to my own body.
But, you know, I gave it all I had. I fought really well in the second and just kind of went downhill from there.
Q. You must be really disappointed. Winning this tournament would really solidify your position at No. 1. It's a bizarre time in women's tennis. It's been about two years since the reigning World 1 has won a Grand Slam?>
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Look, I mean, to be No. 1 at 18 is a pretty amazing achievement, so I don't know what's so bitter about that.
Q. Physically, you even fought back in the third set. You were hitting the returns. You were hitting the forehands. Did you not feel right there at the end that you could push through her? >
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I just, you know, when the points started getting longer and longer, I felt that she had the advantage. She was able to execute them well. Yes, I did have opportunities, and going into the net, and she came up with great shots.
You know, one or two points, and you never know what could have happened. But, you know, credit to her, you know; she played well when she needed to.
Q. Your dad's taking a little criticism for being so vocal during your matches. He was notably quieter today. Was there a connection between those two things? >
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I ‑‑ no. I don't really pay attention to that, no.
Q. How do you feel that people were on your side?>
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I think once I saved those matchpoints, I think obviously they wanted a better match, because after the first set it looked like it wasn't going to be much of a match.
So I think the crowd obviously got into it and that's normal. But, yeah, didn't really, uhm...
Q. What happened in that first set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the first set? I wasn't hitting my serves. I, you know, broke her, returned great in the first game, then she broke me back. Also, the conditions also were not that easy. I mean, the wind was swirling in that stadium. Against the wind, you know, against such a player that has such powerful and heavy, deep strokes, I mean, it's difficult.
I just felt like I was late and couldn't find my rhythm in the first.
Q. What are her greatest strengths?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That she's able to make you hit another ball and, you know, when she gets an opportunity her ball is very heavy and big. I mean, the pace of her shots are very big. Her movement.
Q. Does it give you a sense of futility that there's an unfairness about a sport in which you could play as well as you played today, and still lose? I think you could have beaten Bill Tilden, Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez and Lew Hoad the way you played today, yet you still lost.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is that a compliment or not? I can't quite understand. I mean, I'm sorry... (laughing).
Q. The biggest. >
MARIA SHARAPOVA: (Laughing).
Q. How do you see the matchup in the final? What do you think between Clijsters and Pierce?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Unfortunately, the tournament's over for me, so I don't like to think of that.
Q. You made the point you're still only 18, still very young. When do you think you will be at your peak, when you will be...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: When I feel that I will be, I'll let you know. But it's hard, it's hard to say. I mean, when I was 14, I didn't tell you that I would win Wimbledon at 17 or become No. 1 at 18. So, I mean...
You just never know. When the time comes, the time's right, then it will happen. But, you know, takes a lot of work and I'm willing to go back on the practice court and in the gym, whatever I need to do, and work harder to, you know, to win the Grand Slams.
Q. In the first changeover, at the end of the first set, what were you thinking, what did you make up your mind to change going into the second set? >
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, well, I mean, the first set was really downhill for me. I mean, I don't think there was one positive thing in the first set that I really did. So, you know, I kind of thought, "You just have to change a few things."
But I didn't feel that great in the second as well. I kind of felt like I was down and, you know, just was able to keep up, keep up, then kind of ‑‑ I don't know how I won that second set, so...
Q. How would you describe the way she covers the court and how many balls she gets to? How would you describe that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Great athleticism. I mean, yeah, she's, you know, she's a great athlete. She moves amazing, amazingly. I mean, that's a big plus in tennis.
Q. Have there been times when you thought points against her are over and they're not?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, that's one of the things I said, she makes you hit an extra ball, yeah.
Q. Are you disappointed? Do you feel like you could have played better and you actually could have won that match, or are you thinking you're still a year or two away conditioning‑wise from being able to beat someone like her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, yes and no. I mean, of course it's always disappointing. I mean, I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not here telling you that I feel great losing.
But, I mean, there are so many things ‑‑ yeah, I think there are so many things that I think I can still improve to become better and to be able to pull these matches out. But, you know, I thought I did everything I could and, you know, just one of those days where you did everything you could, but it didn't really go your way.
So, I mean, you know, bad day at the office. What can you say?
Q. Is this for you the most physically demanding of the four majors?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean the French also is pretty physically demanding as well as Australia, and the surface is slower than here.
Q. How long will this one stay with you? Is it gone tomorrow morning?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah, it will be gone soon, yeah.
Q. Will you hang around New York and attend fashion week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I will, yes.
Q. What shows?>
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The Marc Jacobs show Monday night.
Q. Is it tough after a loss like that to come in here and have to dissect it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's normal. I'm pretty used to it. Just kind of, I guess, tell your feelings, get it out of the way (laughing).
Q. What aspects of your game do you think you need to improve to win a match like this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, I think it's all about physical. I don't think there's something technique‑wise or a stroke in my game that, I mean, that I need to improve tremendously. I mean, yes, I can add power and, uhm, consistency in my shots. But I think, you know, today's match was a great example, it was just physical.
Q. You've got to believe there's something unfair about a sport that ‑‑
THE MODERATOR: Excuse me, sir. Thank you. Next question, please.
Why? Did he speak out of turn, or was the moderator trying to stop him giving tennis a bad rep?
Kim Clijsters' post-match press-conference (video & transcription):
Q. The sliding, is it the sneakers?
KIM CLIJSTERS: (Smiling). Uhm, I don't know. I wouldn't be able to do it in high heels, I think (laughing).
Q. Sharapova cried a lot, for instance.
KIM CLIJSTERS: What? What?
Q. Sharapova cried a lot.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Did she?
Q. You didn't see it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, no, I didn't see that.
Q. She looked like she was crying.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Really? I didn't see this.
Q. She got emotional. I was curious as to what you're thinking when you see that in your opponent?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, I didn't see that. I think I was just really focused on myself. I doubt it if she was crying, though (smiling).
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Dr. Andrew Broad