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


June 29, 2015

Maria Sharapova


6‑2, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How do you assess your first game back at Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I was quite pleased with the way things went today.  It was my first competitive match in about four weeks, so I just wanted to start off really strong, not knowing much about my opponent, just the results she had last week.  So coming in without any proper grass court matches, I just wanted to take care of business, and I thought I did a good job of that today.

Q.  Is there a special mindset when you start a tournament like this without playing before?  Something you say before the match to avoid feeling nervous?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I try to make things not complicated, try to focus on one, two, three things that will help me get back on track if things aren't working well or I feel my concentration is a little off, which can happen, in a situation like the first round at Wimbledon.

Q.  Were you concerned playing a British player the crowd might be against you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think that's absolutely normal and expected.  Obviously she has the home crowd behind her.
But it's really about just focusing on yourself and what you have to do and try to win as many points, and especially the last one.

Q.  What did you make of Jo as an opponent?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, actually she was a solid opponent.  Really had to work for my points.  I thought she could serve really well.  Probably one of the reasons she did well last week, she serves quite low on grass.  A big advantage.  She served second serves very fast, I believe mid 90s.  Pretty great second serve.
I felt quite well on the return.  I felt that really helped me get in the point and get the first shot playing.

Q.  Had you seen her play at all before today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Just a little bit last week at Eastbourne.

Q.  On the tele?

Q.  Physically did you feel your energy was back at the usual level?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah.  I mean, I've had a really good last couple of weeks now of practice.  Of course, in the match situation like that, it's always different, especially when you haven't competed in a few weeks.  That's absolutely normal.  But I felt quite well.

Q.  When you were in the press conference here the other day, you acknowledged that Serena is, in your perception, the player to beat.  How would you describe the depth of the field right now, the strength of the women's tour in general, and how many players do you think do have a legitimate shot to contend for a major title?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think many do.  I really think anything is possible.  That's why we play the matches.  There can be favorites.  There can be players you look out for, players you believe have a greater chance than others.  There's some really tough first‑round opponents, second‑round opponents, players that maybe have experience, have had good wins, but maybe not consistently.
I know when some players go out and play against top players, they have the feeling of nothing to lose, they can play one of their best matches.
You can't get too comfortable no matter what match you're playing.  You always have to work for every single point and keep your focus as much as you can.

Q.  Do you still get the same kind of buzz?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's so special.  Even if I hadn't won this event, I think for any tennis player growing up, this is a dream come true to be out on Centre Court.  No matter how much you try to focus and just be in the zone, in the moment, try to block everything away, it's that uniqueness, and the aura around it, it's incredible.

Q.  You still get it after all these years?

Q.  As you know, the temperatures this week are expected to be quite high, 35, 36 on Wednesday and Thursday.  The heat rule, only the female players can call upon that.  Do you think that's a bit unfair on the male players?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't actually know the exact rules.

Q.  The female players can call and stop for a 10‑minute break between the second and third sets.  That's not available for the male players.  Do you think that's a bit unfair, sexist at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  What is the last word you used?

Q.  Do you think it's sexist?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Oh, goodness.  That's really an appropriate word in a press conference.
No, I think if it's something that they're concerned about it, they can reevaluate.  If it does get quite hot for us, we're able to use it, then why not?

Q.  On the men's side, Lleyton Hewitt just was defeated.  Supposedly his last match here.  He had grit, was a fighter.  Did you have any thoughts about Lleyton over the years and that fighting spirit, did that resonate?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I think having the spirit of a champion, as he's had, to be able to still be here after so many years, you know, compete and work, I know he works extremely hard, as everyone does, to try to be at the highest level.  We all have to admire that effort.  It doesn't come very easy.  He has been doing that for years day in, day out.
He was never the strongest or the tallest, but he had so many other qualities that got him through.  I think that's really impressive.

Q.  Is one of those qualities an inner quality to battle and fight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Absolutely.  I think when you think of players that know how to battle, he's probably on top of the list.

Q.  What is your absolute favorite thing about being here at Wimbledon, being able to play?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Being able to play?  I mean, there's a lot.  I guess being part of its history is very special when you look back.  When you're walking down the stairs, you see both the women's trophy and the men's trophy, you think about how many incredible players have held those.  You're given a chance to walk out on Centre Court and experience the nerves, the butterflies, go out with no introductions and hit the first serve or the first return, you just play tennis.  I think that's what it all comes down to at Wimbledon.

Q.  Do you still reflect on the moment when you won here as a teen?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Absolutely.  I think every time you come to a place that's memorable in your life and in your career, you always think about it, especially when you get a chance to play out on that court.

Q.  Do you really like that thing about not being introduced when you walk on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I do.  It's so unique and so different.  When you think of the US Open, that's really what it's about, the music, those introductions, this and that.  And that's great and that's special.
But to have that bit of a quiet moment, the five minutes of warming up without anything, I think that's also special in its own way.

Q.  Is there anything you particularly enjoy about staying in Wimbledon Village during the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I like staying in a home.  We're always in hotel rooms.  I love the aspect of just being able to stay home, you know, have team dinners, have a garden.  Seems simple and quiet.  I prefer that, so...  It's a nice experience.

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