Jan 22nd, 2011, 12:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2
Post match interview.
Q. Can I ask you your thoughts on the court when you were hitting up obviously and that delay happened and it looked to be a bubble and it was fairly comical. What were your thoughts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe it was comical to you. Wasn't really comical to us. We warmed up and had to sit and wait for a while. I was the first one to notice it because I went to the umpire for the coin toss and I noticed there was something under my left shoe. I know I have a lot of foam in the heel but I thought they added some padding or something in there. All of a sudden I looked down and there was a pretty big bubble there. I mentioned it to the umpire and she said she would make a call.
Q. So it was actually your foot pressure? You didn't see a ball bounce fair or do anything...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it was my foot. I thought for a second it was my shoe for a few seconds.
Q. Were you amazed when they did that ball test and it didn't come back at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think you're making a bigger deal than it was. They took care of it pretty fast.
Q. It didn't disrupt you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No.
Q. The match was very tight and entertaining.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thank you.
Q. What were your thoughts on the game? How did you view your performance?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I wasn't really happy with the first set, especially being up a break. I played a really sloppy game on my serve up 3 2 in the first set. You know, it's not really the right way to break and then go out and have that type of game. I think I lost 40 Love or 40 15. Just made too many errors.
Then she gained all the confidence in the world, and I didn't play well at all throughout the first set, even though I was up a break.
Most important thing is I fought for my chances. I stepped it up and started hitting a little bit deeper. Some of my balls were going short in the first set and kind of went down on my tension a little bit.
Q. Did she surprise you at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not at all. She's the type of opponent that can go out and swing pretty freely. She has pretty big strokes and a good first serve. When things are going smooth, I mean it seemed like she can hit a winner from every part of the court.
I don't think I let her play enough or made her didn't hit good enough shots for her everything was really slow and close to the service line.
Q. Looking further into the tournament, is this game today a good one for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's great. Like I said after the second round, it's good for me to have a tough match where I was put in a situation being down in the first set and also in the second set where I was up and we had those really tough games where I had to pull it out and find a way to win, even though my opponent was playing really well in those moments.
Today was a little bit the same thing, a little more up and down. You know, just unable to, like I said, convert that break. Yeah, but overall the most important thing is that I fought really well today and I found a way to play better.
Q. Outside of the fight, are you happy the way you're striking the ball?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: As the match went on, I felt a lot better. Like I said, in the first set I think I was way too tentative and the balls were landing short. Went a little bit up in my tension because the weather was pretty warm during the warm up. I don't think that worked too well.
Q. So you want to look ahead to either of your next two opponents, Venus, who you haven't played in quite a while. I don't know if you played Petkovic. Talk about Venus.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, we haven't played in a while, like you said. But you always expect a tough match against her, no matter what stage of the tournament it is, whether it's the fourth round or in the later stages of the tournament. She's obviously one of the favorites here. My goal will be to go out and try to improve on what I've gained in the last three matches, which is another match to play. Whether it's against her or Petkovic, then so it is.
Q. Do you feel you're fitness is at a point where if you have to play six or seven two and a half hour matches you can do it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, throughout the last two matches I felt really good fitness wise. I didn't feel tired; didn't feel like I was losing the points because I didn't get there. I was slow getting there.
I think it was a little bit of other things within the game. But fitness wise, I think it's really important the more matches I play the better I will feel fitness wise. You can't get better on the court moving and being in different parts of the court without playing matches. It's impossible.
Q. I guess too is that the arm is healing good more than just the legs?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, nothing; just feeling loose.
Q. Just a question on behalf of New Zealand. I know there were a few dramas earlier in the week or funny things. I just wanted you to confirm that there was no problems in New Zealand, that you had a good time there, because it's very important for our tourism. Did you have a good time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You couldn't even say that with a straight face.
Q. I was trying.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I know you did. Got to try harder. Which problems?
Q. Just the talk about stalking and that sort of thing.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that just got a little carried away with people reading the transcript and not showing up to the press conference.
Q. So New Zealand was a great experience?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Does it go back to the tourism? What are we trying to prove here? Do I get a free boat ride next year if I say the right answer?
Q. Helicopter maybe.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. That's a little shady.
Jan 23rd, 2011, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2
Sunday, 23 January, 2011
Q. Did you feel comfortable out there tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Did it look like it?
Q. I just didn't think you were quite there.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely wasn't there. You know, not many things were working. I think it was just one of those days. Yeah, just not a good day at the office.
Q. Even if it wasn't a good day at the office are you optimistic that there will be good days very soon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. I could look at it in so many different ways. Obviously I, you know, could look at it that I played a really bad match and sit there and pinpoint every single bad thing that I did.
You can also look at other things and take away the good things throughout the week and try to improve on that. Last year I was gone on Monday, and, you know, stayed here a little bit longer this year.
So, yeah, this is the beginning of the year. I always look forward to many things, whether I lose easy, whether I win easy. Always have to look ahead.
Q. Could you perhaps talk a little bit about your decision to bring Thomas Hogstedt in and watch you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, I had the same team and, you know, a similar voice for many years, over six years. I just felt like I needed a little bit of a fresher voice and a different perspective, not someone that's going to come in and change my game or do something drastic.
But I brought in Thomas because one of the things is because I knew him over the last few years. I've gotten to know him working with him a little bit with Haase at the academy in Florida. He brings a really good work ethic to the table, which is important.
Last year I felt like I was lacking a little bit of that because of the results that I just wasn't getting or wanted to do better and was getting a little bit down on myself.
He's really a positive influence. You know, really believes in me. He's watched me play throughout the years. Yeah, he's really professional. He knows I'm a pretty private person, and he sticks to what he feels he needs to do on the court.
We have our dinners and, yeah, it's good. I'm enjoying it. I think I can learn a lot of things from him.
Q. Since you have always been a proud player...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Proud?
Q. Yeah, proud of your story, your being No. 1 and all this.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, if I wasn't there would be something wrong with me.
Q. No. I'm just asking you if you suffer from not being anymore at the top where you were, if it's really painful, or since you have already reached many, many goals you are anyhow satisfied?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I can say there are a lot of more painful things in life than losing a tennis match. I think that's a pretty realistic thing to say. I think there's a lot more in life than hitting a tennis ball.
We can talk about so many cases around the world. I think we're all pretty fortunate to be able to do what we do, win or lose. Obviously wins bring you a lot of smiles and laughter, but this is sport.
Q. Still, it's your career...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's your career and your choice. I have achieved, like you said, done many things in my career. I've won many matches and been No. 1 in the world, and also had an opportunity to say that I've had enough.
You know, I could do many other things in my life. I have enough money; I have a great family around me. But when I was away from the sport, everything I wanted to do was to wake up in the morning and not put my ballerinas on, but to put on my Nikes and go out there and run and play.
When it was taken away from me, I realized how much I loved it. When you go through it every single day, you almost forget a little bit. You take a step back and, you know, I miss this. I really wanted it.
If you're not in the draw, you never give yourself an opportunity to be a champion.
Q. Today Francesca Schiavone is going to be No.4 in the world and she's more than 30 years old, which means you can go out even when you're much older.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely.
Q. Does that send a message for you, says anything to you, or since you got everything when you were 18 it's enough?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely not. I think it's an incredible message that she portrays for not only people playing on the tour, but young stars that are coming up. I think everyone has a different time where they shine, where they show their best tennis. For everyone it's different.
Look, I was very fortunate that I got to not only get opportunities when I was young, but take them. There's a difference between having them and also being able to take them.
I think she's an incredible champion. She won the French Open last year in great style. She obviously proved it today out there against Sveta. Yeah, even at that age, shows you how fit she is.
Q. This is about the quality of game, that we can have a match today of 4 hours and 44 minutes, the longest...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is that how long it was?
Q. Yeah, longest match of all time in Grand Slam history.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I think it just shows that no matter what, if we're in the fourth round or the first, in the final, that is why they put the nets up in the morning is to play that match. Doesn't matter what you're seeded, ranked, who you're playing. That's why they open up that tennis can and have those umpires and the net goes up and the match is in front of you.
No matter who the favorite is, you got to finish it. I think it was a great display of tennis. I didn't see a lot of it.
Q. Two questions: Looking back, was it a bit of a risk to take a break from Michael before a slam? Two, I know you did not want to talk about the match before, but what didn't you bring to the table tonight that could have been more effective?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The second question, I mean, there are many things that didn't work today. I didn't get my first breakpoint until it was a set and 5 1. That's not the type of tennis I want to be playing, especially on the return. I mean, I didn't put any pressure on her serve whatsoever. I wasn't up Love 30 or anything on her service games. That's not the way to play a match.
And the first question, I mean, I think it was the right thing to do. I don't regret it. I think my whole team knew that it was the right thing to do.
Q. So looking forward, coming out of here, it is a major and I know it's the beginning of the year, but to achieve your goals this year, what are you going to have to do to get better and compete at the level you're capable of playing at?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think bring a little bit more consistency to the table. I was happy that I was down the last two matches and able to find the level again and do the right things to win the match and pick it up. I wasn't able to bring that today.
I think that's I didn't build on what I gained in the last two matches. I think that's really important, something that maybe has been lacking a little bit.
Also just the beginning, you know, the beginning was a little bit dead as well in the match. It's something that I definitely have to improve on.
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