home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 22, 2015

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. In 2004 you won your first Grand Slam at Wimbledon, and more than 10 years from that you have won all the Grand Slams and Roland Garros twice. How can you describe the evolution of your game from that period to now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I think with the game, with my own game, I think I evolved as a player and as a person. I won my first Grand Slam at a very young age and tennis life. You know, I really enjoy playing on very fast courts with quick points. I wasn't yet physically developed. I was still growing at that stage. I wasn't as strong as I am today. You know, with the evolution of the courts and technologies and the game itself, things have evolved, definitely. I guess to be in this position I think for many, including myself, the transition I made on the clay courts to become a two-time French Open champion has been, you know, a big surprise and really incredible achievement personally for me. Because I was able to take something that was a big weakness of mine and make it into one of my strengths.

Q. Since Rome, what have you been doing? More practice, or in the opposite, maybe less practice to stay fresh?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's been a pretty quick turnaround. I got here right after the final and I had a few commitments as usual before a Grand Slam begins. I had a couple of days of practice, and, yeah, started here on Wednesday on Chatrier. It was a nice moment to be back when it's quiet and just the grounds staff around. Just brings back a lot of memories from the years before.

Q. Kaia Kanepi in the first round. I think you've faced her four times and haven't lost. Talk about a tough first round for you and that matchup.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, absolutely. She's played really well here at the he French Open. I think we played here once at a much later stage, maybe fourth round or quarters, I believe. She's capable of playing good tennis. She's a big hitter and great server. It's a tough start for me, but I don't know when it's ever really an easy one at a Grand Slam.

Q. It's been several years since anyone on the women's side has managed to defend her title here. Why do you think that is? How do you feel about your chances of successfully doing that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. It's not a statistic that I think about or that I analyze very much. I think it's always a special position to be a defending champion. I was in a position a couple of years ago and got myself in the final. Even though I didn't go all out, it's still great statistic for me to be in the finals of this event in the last three years. But it's not really something that I analyze or look at too much.

Q. Would you say your best chance of beating Serena is on the clay or on the hard courts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Again, it's not something that I look at. I try to improve myself and my game on every single surface that I play. I'm challenged by other players. I want to improve because the other players raise a very high standard on the court. But I never think about what my better chances are on grass or here or the moon or somewhere else.

Q. You were obviously there for the men's draw. From your perspective, the talk in this room has been about Rafa and sort of his downfall or struggle on clay this year; facing Djokovic in the quarterfinals. How tough is it as a sort of top player to know that you have a match that's looming, but trying to stay focused on each match ahead of you one at a time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's actually been quite interesting for me to see and read about the -- everyone expects so much of Rafa at this time of the year. You know, an individual loses a few matches, someone that's won this event, what is it nine times, I believe? You know, to put so many question marks, I almost think it's a little bit disrespectful. He's an incredible champion, and he has no reason to be here doing it again, and his will and motivation to keep doing it and to keep proving to himself that he can do it again is pretty remarkable. It's actually been a little bit sad, because if I was in his shoes I'd be a pretty accomplished and satisfied player. Here he is just grinding away and proving everyone wrong. I think that's pretty respectful. I don't think he's thinking about what's ahead of him. I think we all -- we are all very professional enough to know what's just ahead of us, and that's just the first round.

Q. In your first question you told me at the beginning of your career you thought you were more of a fast-court player, and now you evolved to another round. Do you feel the French Open being in the final in the last three years, is your best shot of winning your Grand Slam right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's definitely the Grand Slam where I have been most successful in the last three years. No doubt about it. I don't know what the future will show, and I think that's why we are here. No matter who the favorites are or not, or the underdogs, that's why we play the game.

Q. In the past few years you have had kind of a sustained amount of success in the clay leadups, and this year it seems it's almost a peaking thing coming off your injury. What are your thoughts about the preparation last few years and this year coming in?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that's why I try not to compare the years, because every year is a new situation. I started my preparation much later than I did the last four or five years even, but those are the circumstances. You can't push your body more than when it's ready, and for me it happened actually right before I was supposed to leave for Fed Cup. It's not an ideal situation. I have had to work a lot through the last few tournaments. I had to spend much more time on court, in the gym, more than I would at events. But that's what it takes to get back. There is no secret to getting the hours out there, you know, getting the feel. It always takes a little bit of time to get used to the movement and the recovery and kind of the transition from the hard to the clay. Just, it takes quite a bit of time. It was a great week for me in Rome to win those matches. Madrid was the first time in many months that I played five matches in a row. I definitely felt that. So to come into Rome and have that quick turnaround and to be able to play those matches and feel I was the freshest one in the final, I think in those weeks I can be the most proud of. Because three years before that in Stuttgart I wasn't up to that level yet.

Q. Andy Murray got married a few weeks ago and Novak Djokovic had a baby last fall. Just looking at how much happiness plays into your off-court happiness plays into on-court and whether that has played a role in your career and how much you want to make sure you have a balance off court and you want to play on court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think of course we are athletes and we are here to do our jobs, but at the end of the day tennis is only -- we sometimes forget that tennis is quite a short period of our lives, and especially for women. Maybe men last a little bit longer. For a woman that wants to have children and a family, it can be quite tough to prolong your career. It's been great to see so many more family men on the tour. (Smiling.) That's been nice. But, yeah, I'm not sure I like to use the word balance, because when you try to balance things out you're only just good at a couple of things. I don't know, I want to be great at one thing. I know it's sometimes impossible to be great at ten things. If I try to be great at ten other sports maybe I would be so-so. I have chosen a sport that I could evolve in and be great at. Of course you try to manage your off-court life and your on-court life. I have been very committed to my sport and trying to be the best I can be at it. And, yeah, when I have the time to enjoy my life and to be happy away from the court.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297