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September 2, 2005

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria, please.

Q. How do you feel you played?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I was moving quite well in the first set and then second set I felt a little sloppy. You know, played a sloppy game at 4-2 serving with the wind, made a few easy errors. But other than that, came back strong. She hits pretty flat, so it was a little different compared to the other opponents I played in previous matches.

Q. Was it hard after she was dealing with the injury, she couldn't seem to move and then picked it up again quickly?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I tried not to worry about it. Just tried to focus on my own thing. You know, if I start concentrating on what my opponent is doing, if she's moving well or not, then I start to wander around.

Q. There were times during the match you seemed pleased with the forehand. Other times you seemed not so happy. Talk about that particularly, how you feel about it.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I've been working on trying to see the ball a little bit better, you know, during the matches. Today sometimes, you know, I was in position and sometimes it seemed like, I don't know if it was her rhythm or something threw me off, I just made some easy errors. I was trying to get myself to see the ball better.

Q. Do you want to talk about Mirza a little bit? She's been one of the real up-and-comers. Nice breakthrough, hard hitter, lot of personality. Is that a match you're looking to?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's gonna be another tough one. I haven't really seen much of how she plays. I heard she's got a big and powerful game. You know, you just have to go out there and see how it goes. It's hard to predict things, but I'm sure it's going to be a good match.

Q. Who scouts that for you, Robert or your dad?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not Robert. My team. You know, my dad, Michael.

Q. Does it matter, too, now, with players you haven't played that your team gets a good look at how they play, or are you concerned about your rhythm, how you're serving, how you're returning?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's kind of different. The last two opponents I haven't played before, and the next one, too. You just have to see how they play and, you know, my team has seen some of the matches before, previous tournaments, so I'm sure I'll get a few ideas. But, you know, it's not too much. I mean, I'm not the kind of person that takes a lot of advice, I just usually do my own thing unfortunately.

Q. What kind of shape is your game in overall? You haven't played a lot in the runup to the Open.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, I feel pretty good. I haven't really been in that situation where I haven't had too many matches going into a Grand Slam, so something new for me. But I felt really good since the first match. I've been moving a lot better. Feel stronger. You know, just a matter of when the tough matches come, just see how I adjust.

Q. Were you a little nervous coming in because of the lack of match practice?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not at all. I was just excited to finally get out on the court.

Q. I was reading an interview with Larry Scott. He talks glowingly about your success. He makes it seem as the key to the WTA's success is your success. Do you feel like you're carrying them on your shoulders?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't really think about it. I'm glad he thinks that way. He doesn't tell me, you know, he doesn't tell me that I'm, you know -- I'm the head of the sport. So he doesn't put that pressure on me.

Q. He does in print, I guess.


Q. You don't seem particularly excited. Is it because you're just so deeply concentrated and focused on the task right now? Or is something else going on?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Excited? What do you mean, excited?

Q. Positive, happy, upbeat?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, I'm upbeat. I just haven't gotten interesting questions yet (laughing). Sorry, guys.

Q. So what would you ask yourself that would be particularly interesting?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no, no, I'm just joking.

You know, I'm just -- I just give you answers. I don't know. Sometimes I'm in a better mood than other days. Of course I'm concentrated, yeah, focused.

Q. Are you as locked in as you would be at, say, Wimbledon?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I'm trying to be really focused here. This is an important event for me, definitely.

Q. Is it harder to do New York because of so many other things going on?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, at Wimbledon there's also a lot of things going on around. But, obviously, here it's different. You know, the city's busy and there's a lot of hype. So it's just a matter of just finding your own balance, you know, having some time to yourself and actually just, you know, without so many crazy things around you.

Q. Have you done anything towards raising money for the hurricane victims?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am currently in the process of thinking about it. I am working with my team and sponsors. It's something obviously I'm very devastated about and I really want to help. At this moment, the WTA is auctioning some of my items, as well as other players' items on the site, I think. But as for myself, I am currently thinking -- it's kind of tough. I mean, last year with what happened in Russia and this year what's happened here, it's kind of amazing. But I am, I am definitely going to do something.

Q. Do you know much about Sania Mirza away from the court? She has a feisty personality.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know anything, no.

Q. You'll see her next match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I guess I will, yeah.

End of FastScripts….

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