An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. One of your famous phrases a long time ago was that you felt like a cow on ice on the clay. From your results, that's no longer the image that you can portray to the world. Really what's made the change? You seem to be at ease, fluid, at your best over the past couple of years. What's been the transformation?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm much more comfortable on this surface. Even though I don't play too many tournaments on it throughout the year, I feel like with every year that has come and the clay court season that arrives, I feel physically stronger.
I think that's definitely helped me in the recovery process, as well. I'm enjoying it a bit more. You know, before I felt like in matches I was saving myself a little bit because I didn't always believe that physically I could play seven matches in difficult, heavy conditions in Europe when it's raining. My body just wouldn't recover that well.
But I've certainly improved that. I'm moving a lot better, which has helped me, as well. Yeah, it's always nice coming to the French Open with a couple of titles on clay and having a few more days to prepare.
Q. I have been in this room when the assembled journalists have been saying to you, Why aren't you winning this tournament? Why isn't it working? I remember you saying, It will come. I just need to give myself time and experience. At the time it seemed like you were just making excuses. You obviously believed that it would come. Do you feel vindicated that the results are now starting to show?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I always believe that no matter how old you are, how many years you have been on the tour, you can
always become a more experienced player and person. You can learn a lot more with every match. You learn so much.
I have learned a lot from, you know, my matches at the French Open, the difficult ones, the easy ones, and the ones I have lost. I always believe that I can improve. I never sit here and try to make excuses.
Usually everything I say is really what I believe at the end of the day. You know, I always thought that with every year I have improved, and I hope to keep improving whether I win this year or not.
Q. Did you ever feel so well than at this moment? Do you ever feel so well, so great?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: About coming into the French Open?
Q. No, no, in general.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In general?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, obviously I'm ‑‑ like I said, it's always nice to come to Roland Garros knowing that I have been playing extremely well on it and having a few titles in the last few weeks. I just keep hoping that, you know, I'm able to show great tennis here and take it into the rest of the summer.
Q. I know players don't like to look too much ahead, but you're not that far from the No. 1 spot. What would that mean to you after all you've been through this year to again be the queen of this tour?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I would love to have that again, because after I came back from my injury ‑ I don't remember what my ranking was ‑ but I thought to myself, Well, when I was young I had the goal of being No. 1. I'm kind of in a position right now where I don't have a ranking. I'm just starting from scratch. If I did it once, maybe, you know, I can try to do it again.
So to be in a position where I'm close and to just be in this position, I'm really happy. I'm happy with the way that I fought through the tough moments in the days when things weren't going exactly the way I had imagined them to go, and it's obviously always nice to be in that position to try to get that. It's a position that every player wants.