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January 26, 2016

Maria Sharapova

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. WILLIAMS/M. Sharapova

6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough match today. Your thoughts about how it went, what went wrong?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, she played quite explosive. Thought at times, you know, when I got in the rally I wasn't moving forward, wasn't cutting the angles off enough.

She got herself back in the points. She was really explosive off the return. Yeah.

Q. Looking back on the match, is there much you think you could have done differently? Tight first set.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, I feel like if it was 5-All, I mean, the momentum would have been a little bit different than going into where she played a really great beginning of the second set.

You know, I think at 5-All maybe the mentality of her confidence would have changed a little bit. But, you know, she returned really well on those deuce points. Really got me on the back foot, yeah.

Q. You mentioned her confidence. She got off to a fairly slow start in the first set. What were your thoughts when you saw that? Why weren't you able to keep that gap that you had early on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was a 2-0 gap, so I'm not sure it's...

Q. It's something.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. But the match is still two-out-of-three. It's not about the first point or a point in the middle. It's really about the last point, so...

Q. Did you feel that your level kind of dropped at the beginning of the second set? Especially after the doctor came out, people weren't sure where her form would be.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the beginning of the second set?

Q. Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she served four pretty big serves. I don't know if that really affected her too much in the first game.

Q. Did you feel like your level dropped at all at that point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think in that return game, I don't know if there was much I could do. She was finding the lines and the spots. I mean, I think I have to look at that second game a little bit more closely than her first couple service games, because I thought she served really well in the beginning of the second set.

Q. What do you feel you have to do to your game to just get rid of this whole previous record against Serena? Must be something you can do.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, keep setting opportunities. Keep getting to the point where I have an opportunity to play against her. Keep finding a way to turn that around. If I don't have that chance then I don't have the opportunity to try something different.

Q. Did you feel at all the conditions were different? Your last two or three matches have been under the roof. It was pretty hot out there and an outdoor match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I guess, of course it's quite different after I played three -- first I played a night match, then I played three matches under the roof. It's a completely different environment and situation.

As far as the heat, I felt quite well. I didn't feel that that affected me very much, which is good. I've been practicing here for a while and had some really warm days.

Physically, even though I didn't feel we had that many long rallies, I still felt pretty good energy-wise.

Q. What are your plans between now and Indian Wells?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm going to go and take care of my forearm first. I think that's really important. I'm going to go to Moscow, be part of the team. I don't think I'll be playing. Then I'm not sure.

But I think this will be a time to just get myself ready for a long year. I don't see myself playing anything before Indian Wells.

Q. You had 21 aces in the previous match. When you play Serena, do you think you have more pressure on your shoulders so you serve a little worse, or it's because she returns better, she reads your serve better? What do you think is the reason?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think if you're serving maybe 180 against somebody else compared to Serena, that's an ace. Against Serena, as we all know, the return is one of her great strengths. She's very explosive. She stays quite close to the baseline. She cuts the ball early. She doesn't give you many angles.

That's the reason I can't get so many free points against her.

Q. How frustrating is it to not be able to break through against Serena?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's obviously always frustrating. I mean, it's motivating. It's tough to sit here 30 minutes after the match and talk about the match, but that's part of my job.

It's motivating because she's at a different level. She makes you go back to the drawing board, not just for me, but for many other players. She makes you work. That's inspiring.

Q. Do you think she can be beaten for the rest of the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not sure. I don't know. That's why they're going to play the matches, to see if that happens or not.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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