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June 27, 2005

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Maria Sharapova. Questions in English first of all, please.

Q. Were you disappointed in a way that the second set wasn't a bit tougher today?


Q. The second set.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Was it tougher? No, the first set.

Q. Were you disappointed it wasn't tougher?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm sorry, I thought you said it was tougher. No, I thought I picked it up from the first set. She was playing really well the first probably six games, and I was -- you know, I was making a few errors when I shouldn't have, but still felt like I was in it, still felt pretty confident on my serve. You know, I felt like if I could put some pressure on her return, then I'd get a break, serve it out. That's exactly what I did. Second set, I just didn't make as many errors and was getting better and better.

Q. Do you feel generally that your game is progressing through the tournament the way you'd like it to?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, especially in today's match. As the match went on, I think I played better and better. I played a different opponent than the round before, a little bit different - not as big of a serve, but more consistent. But overall, yeah, playing better.

Q. Can you compare to last year when you were here, do you feel you're playing better now? How are you feeling in terms of having done what you did last year? Is it different?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's so hard to compare it to last year because last year I was in a totally different situation. I was happy to be in the second week of a Grand Slam. This year I'm expecting myself to be in the second week of a Grand Slam. It's hard to say. But overall I'm really excited to be in the second week of a Grand Slam, of course. You know, no matter how I do, I'm excited to be in the quarters.

Q. Do you look at the performances of the other women? Serena and Justine have gone out. Were you surprised by those defeats? Where do you see the danger now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just try to focus on my next opponent. You know, obviously those are big upsets. But, you know, I mean, that happens in tennis. Like I said, the level of tennis is really high right now. You know, players like that can cause upsets. You just have to be on top of your game and be able to tough it out every single match. You've got to be mentally and physically ready for it. What was the second question?

Q. Where do you see the danger now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I don't know if Petrova is winning. I think she was 3-Love up. I don't know if she won. Did she? I don't know. What's the score?

Q. She's not won yet, 4-2 up.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Played her a long time ago. Big game, big serve. You know, obviously it's going to be another tough match. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. How much better do you feel your game is this year than it was last year?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Game-wise, I think I'm a much more experienced player. You know, technically-wise, I don't think there was a big need of improvement. But I think experience-wise and confidence-wise, in certain situations I feel like, you know, I've been in that situation before, and I feel like I manage it a lot better.

Q. Do I understand you made a complaint about photographers taking your picture when you're practicing on the practice courts? Is that not part and parcel?


Q. You haven't made an official complaint. We understood you've made an official complaint about having your picture taken on the practice courts.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's something new to me. I learn something every day over here. God (laughter).

Q. Everybody talks about the second week of Wimbledon. They up the ante. Does that just happen naturally or do you walk out and go, "Second week of Wimbledon, I better get serious now"?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, every Grand Slam is like that. I mean, Grand Slams are for two weeks. Once you're in the second week, mentally and physically you've got to be a lot tougher. You know, matches from now on are going to get tougher and you've just got to be ready. But overall I'm excited to be in the second week of a Grand Slam. Great opportunity to go even further.

Q. You can't concentrate about the next match straightaway. Do you go away, forget about your next match until tomorrow?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I guess you just try to rest, you know, try to -- I go in the locker room, go talk with my team, see what I think I need to improve for the next match. For the rest of the day, I basically forget about tennis and just relax, you know, try to forget about it as much as I can. Because, you know, once you're on the tennis court, you've got to give it all you've got out there.

Q. Do you find the British people here at Wimbledon quite supportive of international players? Should London win the Olympic bid, would this be a good place to host the event?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, the English people are really -- are really excited about the English, that's for sure. No doubt about it. But it's great. It's normal, I mean, when you have so much support going for your country and for the people that play for it. Obviously, it's very important. I'm actually running for the Moscow bid, so I don't want to give you guys any credit (laughter). I don't know. It would be exciting either way it goes. Every Olympics is amazing. Hopefully I can take it home.

Q. Do you think Wimbledon is a good place to host a tennis tournament for the Olympics?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it would be amazing. I don't know if it would be on grass. If it will be, yeah, of course. For me, it would be great.

Q. It's said the courts here are playing slower and slower. Is that true? If so, does that place an extra task upon you to adapt?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, I haven't really paid too much attention to it. Now as I think about it, maybe it has a little bit. I don't know what that has to do with the height of the grass or whatever. I have no idea. You know, if it's slower for me, it's slower for my opponent. There's not too much you can do about it. I'm not going to go and cut the grass during the night.

Q. A year ago, saying you were thrilled to be in the second week, now you expect to be. Does that make the whole thing a little less fun and more job?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it doesn't make it more of a job. But, you know, I kind of expect myself -- I go into a tournament and, you know, sort of expect myself to be there for a longer period of time. You know, it's normal now. I mean, it's still a lot of fun. I enjoy it. Of course, every single match I go out there and I give everything I've got just because I enjoy it. I love being out there. I love competing, especially here.

Q. Less of an adventure?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Less of an adventure? I don't know. It's hard to say. It's totally different. That's why I don't know. It's hard to say what the difference is. I'm not making sense, am I?

End of FastScripts….

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