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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 09:20 PM   #1205
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

BNP PARIBAS OPEN

March 8, 2014

Maria Sharapova


INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

M. SHARAPOVA/J. Goerges
6‑1, 6‑4


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Happy with that effort first match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. The first matches are always a little bit tricky, especially having not played in a few weeks indoor or outdoor.
Tricky opponent, and she's capable of playing good tennis. She hasn't been as consistent as she probably would have liked recently, but she's had her results. She's beaten top players before, so the first round, that's never easy, but I thought I did what I had to do. Certainly improvements that I could make.

Q. Sounds like you were hitting the ball really well off the ground in particular on both sides. Had the measure of the court better than most players we have been seeing coming through. How much is that getting used to conditions or a place you have played so well at?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have played really well here. I obviously hope to continue that. You always start from scratch every year, but I always like to get here a little bit early and get used to the conditions. We are in a little bit of an altitude, not much, but the ball does fly somewhat in the first couple of days.
But I felt like I was hitting and, you know, missed a lot of returns in the second set, which I should have made.
But overall I feel like I did what I had to do and step up for the next ones.

Q. I think Serena tweeted during your match that your outfit was totally cute. She approved.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Really? Are those her exact words, Totally cute?

Q. She said #approved.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think we have to exchange designs. We have to design an outfit for each other. That would be fun. Without knowing...

Q. Cat suit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I have to put an end to the cat suit on me (Laughter.) I mean, I'm 26 already, so I think those days are over.
But that would be fun without telling each other what it is, just unveiling it.

Q. You would trust each other to do that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah. That would be a lot of fun, don't you think? You guys would all show up for that, right? (Laughter.)
We're going to get great coverage. Nike is going to be happy. It's all good.

Q. What kind of ideas do you have for dressing up Serena then?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's our secret. Show up to the unveiling.

Q. No hints?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No hints. I have a few things in mind, a few silhouettes.

Q. You're obviously pretty fashion oriented. I don't know if you look at photos or around the locker room. Like first couple of days of a slam, do you think that's good, that's awful?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: All brands are really competitive, and I think we all‑‑ we try to set a high standard. We try to create different things.
I have been lucky to have my own collection with Nike and have other girls wear it, as well.
I don't know. I like to push the envelope a little bit but still maintain an elegant and classy look and appeal to girls that are playing under 14s and junior tournaments and appeal to ladies that are playing in a doubles league.
So there is always a thin line because you have to create for different body shapes. But it's fun. I really enjoy it.

Q. You do pay attention to what other people are wearing, though?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I love it. I think it's fun to compare and critique and gossip about it (smiling).

Q. Can you ever recreate the Audrey Hepburn dress, or is that just a one off?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think there would be nothing like it for me. But it was a special one‑of‑a‑kind type dress.

Q. Did you see what Serena wore to one of the Oscar night parties? Did you see her gown?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I didn't go that night. Yeah, I was supposed to, but Grigor got back into town so that kind of changed my priorities.

Q. First things first?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. But, no, I did not see.

Q. Victoria Azarenka was playing yesterday and she obviously was hurt and having trouble playing and debated whether or not she should have made the choice to play, was ready to be in condition to win a match. You have obviously had a lot of injuries in your career. Maybe you were on the fence about playing or not playing. I'm just wondering how that process goes for you.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's always a tough decision, but I think it's tougher to make that decision when you're younger and don't have as much experience. But I think someone like myself or someone like Azarenka, we have experience. We know what our body is like. We know the limit we can push it to.
We know if we show up at a tournament we're pretty much‑‑ should be ready to go, because we know we have to step up and be at an extremely high level. That's one of the reasons why I just didn't continue and play at the US Open.
Even though I was already there, even though I practiced there, you just have to make some decisions that are some of the toughest. But, you know, you have to put everything aside and make sure your body is healthy.
I'm sure she was healthy to a certain degree, but I don't know all the details so I'm not the one to speak about it.

Q. Have there been times where you made decisions to play and then regretted it later? Are you talking about learning over the course of your career?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, last year at Wimbledon I shouldn't have played.

Q. You have traveled the whole circuit, and it's pretty incredible what they have done here. Big and small stadiums, big palm trees, practice courts, you know the whole drill.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right.

Q. Do you think after the slams this is the best tournament in the world?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's growing. It's the fastest‑growing tournament I think anyone has ever seen. To build a stage like that on Court 2 in a matter of 10 months is extraordinary. I know, because I'm in the process of building something myself, and, I mean, I want to hire those contractors, whoever they are, let me tell you. (Laughter.) They never keep their promises. That's pretty incredible.
But, I don't know. I think it's a special tournament because you have, you know, an owner and a tournament director that listens to the players, that respects their voice, and also respects the fan voice.
They have been there. They have played. They have that experience, so they understand what's important for both ends.
I think that's what we feel. That's what makes it special here.

Q. Is there a feel also just with the whole site and the desert culture that the players really like and make it special?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's unique. The setting, every time you take pictures, I mean, the comments you always receive on social media is, Wow, no wonder everyone loves this tournament.
Because it really is beautiful. It is strange coming from the natures and the greenery and maybe a forest in Russia to maybe bare mountains that are here. It's a huge contrast I'm sure for other players, but it's unreal what it looks like.

Q. Finally, what are you building?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Can't say. Sorry.

Q. In the interview with BBC you were talking about men playing best of three. Knowing tennis as you know it as a business and what goes on behind the scenes, do you think something like that would ever change like?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Probably not. Not very soon. But that answer really came from, you know, the question of, you know, of course there is equality and equal prize money and so on.
But, yeah, we do constantly hear complaints from the ATP Tour, which is, you know, that's not a secret and we will have to face that because we do not play three out of five sets at Grand Slams.
But we have no problem with letting them play two out of three, so that was really my point. If they want to do that, that's fine. I personally think it would be more entertaining. I mean, besides watching some of Grigor's five setters, I don't think I have ever witnessed from first point to last point a five‑set match. I don't have that concentration span.

Q. Because the first set doesn't matter as much?


MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, of course it matters. I mean, can't just say the first set doesn't matter. In a five‑set battle, you know, so many things can change and turn around. That's what makes it exciting as well.
But how exciting is it that you know from the first point on that it really, really counts? How you do the first few games can maybe determine a two‑out‑of‑three‑set match.

Q. A lot of the top men's players play doubles here annually. Have you ever thought about trying doubles out more?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven't for so many years, so it's like, Why start now?

Q. Is it on your bucket list to win a doubles tournament again?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I'm just getting too old for that stuff. Really, I'm just ‑‑I don't know. I'd rather concentrate on the singles.

Q. What sort of questions are on your bucket list? What would you do in your future in your life?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I'm excited to play in the Olympics again. I mean, after my experience in London and just being part of that atmosphere, I look forward to it for a really long time already. That would be incredible opportunity.
As off‑the‑court goals, you know, I dream big in many things, and I always say that if I achieve just a small amount of it, I'll be a happy girl.

Q. Who is the coolest athlete you met, and do you know what a twizzle is?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: A twizzle? Is that part of figure skating? Right, right. I don't know if that was a trick question.
Who did I meet? I met a lot of former athletes that were working for NBC, which was like Scott Hamilton. I don't know. It was really bizarre just like having breakfast around each other like it was no big deal. All these athletes getting together, not actually working on our sport, but that was special.

Q. Did you and Johnny Weir hang out at all?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Unfortunately I missed him, but I was told we had a coat competition. Yeah, we tried to upstage each other's coats. I brought 12 and he brought 25. I mean, that's pathetic.

Q. Never going to win that battle?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you never know.

Q. Would you consult him for designing for Serena?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: That could be fun. He could design for me, as well.
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