Join Date: Jan 2010
Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2
Indian Wells 2nd Round Interview
Q. Nice start to the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Long, hard-fought match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I haven't played in a long time, and the first set, you know, I felt that a little bit at certain points in the beginning. I was almost a little confused whether I should, you know, be more patient or go for it a little bit more.
As I started playing more, I started getting a better feel for her game and for the way I was playing.
You know, I came back in that first set and did a good job of, you know, being really aggressive towards the end of it.
In the second set, you know, I had my chances to win the match. You know, maybe played a little bit too risky, went for a little bit more. She played really great defensively throughout the whole match and always made me hit another ball.
I stepped it up in the third. So it was a long match and many games, but I think it was a good match for me.
Q. So third set you pretty much felt like you had a good feel for the ball and what you had to do to close it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I started to. After I have been on the court for two hours you get a pretty good feel for what your opponent is doing and her strengths. I thought she played really smart. She had a game plan in mind.
Yeah, probably like five years ago if I played against someone like that I would run myself to the ground, but I wouldn't be so patient.
But you have to -- it's an interesting balance between being patient but also playing your game and being aggressive and trying to finish the points closer to the net.
Q. Do you feel like you worked out some rust? You haven't played for a while. Do you feel like you worked out a lot of rust?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, the last few weeks I was just really eager to play. I had a long offseason, played a couple of tournaments, and really in Australia was my last one. It's been a while, and it was unfortunate that I couldn't play the, you know, two or three, you know, starting in Paris.
I was there, but, yeah, got sick and I had to fly home. That took a lot out of me, and, yeah, it's just the way it goes.
But like I said, you have to get the rust out whether it's in a long match or a fast one, yeah.
Q. What's your feeling in this stage of your career? Does it feel like work and a chore in any way, or is there a real joy to it and a freshness still? How would you describe your feelings towards the game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's pretty tough to go on a tennis court thinking that it's a chore. It's pretty difficult on its own, because you obviously have to work on a lot of things in your game, and, you know, go through other things, you know, off the court.
You know, like I've said, I have a new coach and new racquet. So you're working on those things, and you're trying to build. Every day you go on the court, it's been really -- you know, I like the work ethic that Thomas has brought on the court. It's worked a lot on many different areas of my game, and it's a whole different ball game when you go into a match.
That's what I've lacked for many months now, and I just really hope that I can, you know, play a lot of matches.
Q. I know you developed a lot of patience after the shoulder surgery, because you had to, being out. But when you got sick at Fed Cup and you got back on the plane and you realized you couldn't play Paris, Dubai, or Doha, were you saying, Oh, my God, I can't believe I have to go through this again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that was a bummer, but I was -- I just knew it was gonna happen, because when you come into a country and 50% of the people are sick in the city and they're telling you not to use public transport or go anywhere and you're playing in a stadium, you know, with thousands of people, I mean, and you're sitting there for seven hours the next day, I mean, there's a really good chance you're going to get something.
I just got it pretty bad. Yeah, I was out for a couple of weeks.
Q. One of the great things about tennis is we have all these cycles. We always come back here or Paris or London. But earlier this week you went up to Eugene. Can you describe what it's like, what it was like up there to play in front of a fresh crowd?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, so energetic, and it just felt alive. It started from the introductions even. I don't know if you saw any of it, but we were introduced onto the court from walking down stairs. And with the whole inside being dark and only you're walking alone down the stairs during the introduction, you feel like a rock star.
You know, I mean, I told Victoria I felt like the opening act to U2 a little bit playing before Roger and Rafa. I was like the Blackeyed Peas. (Laughing.) It was really fun.
I enjoyed the whole experience, and I have been with Nike for so many years. I feel like I have been really a part of the family from being a young girl when they didn't make clothes in my size and they never had a junior line and I always felt like I had to wear things that were twice as big and rolling up my skirts.
But just being there and seeing Phil and knowing that it was something very important for his son and knowing how involved he is in the whole university in sports. There are not many people so involved.
Q. It began with a waffle iron making shoes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Incredible.
Q. What kind of guy is he?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: He's really laid back. We were flying back, and, you know, Max and I, my agent, and were talking about how incredible. You know, this guy started from something so small and has developed something so incredible. And to be honest, I don't think he knows what a genius he is.
I think that's the best part about it, is he really goes about his life. He was just -- he's really just thankful and happy we were there. He enjoyed it, seemed like. He was laughing and he had his family there, so...
Q. Do you have to show yourself now, let's say the next couple of months, I'm not going to go beyond the draw or anything like that, that, Yes, I put in the work, have a new racquet, a new coach, I can still produce good results and really good tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I know I can produce good results. I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be out on the court. I wouldn't be practicing. I wouldn't be trying.
But I'm pretty realistic in terms of knowing that I'm not just going to come out of nowhere and all of a sudden, you know, feel like everything is well and I'm winning matches easily. I'm not gonna have any hiccups in the matches and not go through tough opponents.
It's not real, and I know that I'll have to face -- have to lose a few matches in order to get back. The only thing I really want is that consistency, the consistency of being healthy, but also being able to, you know, to play a lot.
You know, I really miss that. I miss competing. You know, I miss matches, yeah.
Q. There is this curious oddity about WTA players and NBA basketball players relating to New Jersey. Have you met the owner of the Nets?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have not, no.
Q. You're engaged right now. How are you balancing tennis with the giddiness of being a girl and being happy and in love?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just like you said, it's a balance. It's an exciting part of my life, because I'm young and my fiancée is still young, and I feel like we have many years ahead of us in our careers. You know, him in basketball probably more than I have in tennis. He kind of scarce me. He just loves the sport so much. He just never wants to stop. He's actually scaring me a bit.
Yeah, it's wonderful to know that we have each other, you know, at the end of the day whether we're traveling. It's tough to be apart, there's no doubt, in so many different ways.
But, yeah, when his season is over he'll support me, and I try to come over there whenever I can and allows. We try to make time. Yeah, we have a lot of years to spend time, quality time together. We're in the same city for more than a week.
Q. If I could ask, I mean, you've seen a lot of hoops by now. How do you compare the athleticism...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I know all about the broadband league pass. If you want the user name, password, I got it all. I have you connected from Hong Kong, from the U.S., anywhere.
Q. But how do you compare the athleticism of basketball, which is incredible, with our sport, which is also incredible? Can you compare it in any way, the two different sports?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's a little different in terms of that tennis is individual and it's a team sport. I feel it a little different when I actually play Fed Cup in a way.
But it's different where if you're not having that feeling, you might be having the best night of your life, but you end up losing and you have really mixed emotions that you're not sure, you know, how to feel. You played well but your team lost. Or the other way around. Your team wins and you didn't have a great game.
But it's an interesting, you know, obviously balance. I have been able to, you know, be emotional about it and learn a lot about it, and it's fun.
Q. How tough is the trade when you heard about it other than...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was so happy.
Q. Because I know it's a very good opportunity for him to play and getting a lot of minutes, but still he was based in LA and now he's in New Jersey.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To be honest, maybe we have skipped a few days where we could have seen each other, but it's so much more worth it that he's playing and that the whole organization has been great to him.
He loves all the teammates he plays with. Yeah, he's a happy kid. It's nice to see. No matter how they're doing, how they're playing, it seems like they're sticking together and trying to work things out and win games and play as a team.
But yeah, I was really happy because, you know, he also, deep down inside, wanted that as well. He wanted to have the opportunity to play a lot, and yeah.