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September 28, 2015

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just talk about the injury, when you felt it first, how is it feeling? Why did you make the decision to retire?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It happened around the beginning of the second set. Yeah, I got pain in my left forearm. It just got worse and worse as I continued. I think quite evident on the backhand side. Just lost a lot of power.
And, yeah, I just don't think it's smart to continue trying to run around the court and trying to hit forehands from the backhand side and compensate other things.
You know, I haven't played a match in many months. Obviously, I guess this is the consequence of that.
Yeah, just have to work on getting it better.

Q. Do you chalk it up to that, being your first match back since Wimbledon? Did you have any sense at all there was anything going on with your arm going into the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not at all. It was something that just came on, as I said, in the second set, yeah.

Q. You've had your fair share of injuries. Is today like the last straw?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, look, I don't remember the last time I with drew in the middle of a match. It's not a nice feeling. You're playing the match. It's been a while. So I felt really good to be out there, rusty at times. But obviously the feeling of competing again and getting in that zone is really what you practice for. So I was really happy with that. So, of course, it's always frustrating to have to withdraw in the middle of the match.
But, look, I've had my fair share of serious injuries, and I know that this is far from it, something that I just have to take care of.

Q. Do you already know what the plan is now? Going back to the States or to Beijing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know right now. I think I'll go back to the hotel and speak with my team and try to come up with a good plan.
I mean, obviously Singapore and Fed Cup is a big priority for myself. I'll do everything in order to be healthy for that. I don't know how long it will take for this to recover so I can't really give myself or you a definite answer about next week.

Q. How were you feeling in the first set? What would you say about your opponent today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Look, as I said, I was really happy to be back on the court. I've gone through the injury and not playing and missing a Grand Slam, going through the rehab, going through training, this is really the moment that you work for.
You know, certainly you lose a little bit of hand‑eye coordination, the quickness, the recovery. Nothing matches the actual atmosphere of playing in a match. So everything is a little bit new.
I enjoyed that feeling again. That's why it's unfortunate to have to stop from that because you always build and you get the rust out and you hope you grow as the tournament goes along, but not in my case this tournament.

Q. I've noticed that when you sat down, you used your left arm to support your body. Did you feel any discomfort with your left arm?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think it was from that, yeah.

Q. Setting aside the second and third sets, talking about that first set, did you feel the rust come up most during the pressure points? You had the set points at 5‑3. Is that one of those you can't practice those sorts of points in practice?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. Short ball. I had a good second serve. You get a short ball that's the one that you want. It goes in the net. I made a few of those in practice.
Of course, in those situations, after it was a really long game, serving for the match, you know, just getting through.
I think the biggest part is also keeping your concentration as the set goes on and keeping your focus. That's something that in practice you can take a break or you're having a little letdown, you speak to your coach, you kind of go through that.
In a match like that, it's not an option. It's great because you have to face it and you have to force yourself to get through those moments.
I had a second serve return that I missed on set point, as well. The good thing is I felt like I was going for it. I was excited about the opportunity.
I know in the beginning of the match I missed more returns than I would have wanted. But I was still going for it. Okay, I was missing long. But as the match went on, I was feeling much better. I wasn't tentative. I think those are all good, positive signs that I can take from tonight.

Q. I would like to know, a lot of the spectators came to the stadium just for you, but you quit the game and people were quite sad. Next year if your body allows you, will you be here again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course, when I walked out into the stadium today I was a little nervous because there weren't many people. In the following five minutes the stadium really filled up. I think for both of us, that was a nice feeling, especially in a new arena for the first match that I was playing in many months.
Of course, it's not the best way to end for my fans. But I know that this tournament is here for many years and I will still have the opportunity to come back.

Q. Just now the question was that many fans came here because of you. What would you tell the fans in Wuhan?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I would tell my fans that, of course, I would have loved to compete here for the whole week in front of them. I know how passionate they are. I know the (indiscernible) family here in China is very large and growing. I see that from social media, everything they write and say, the videos they give me.
Of course, it's an unfortunate situation to have to withdraw from this match. But I'm sure they will see me in China for many more years to come.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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