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May 10, 2005

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Any impressions about this first match in Rome?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, overall, I don't think I played great tennis. I was making too many errors at the beginning of the match. You know, as the match went on, I was feeling a little bit better with my strokes. But, you know, first matches are never easy. I was trying to get my timing going out there. But, you know, I thought I was just making too many errors overall.

Q. Why do you think so, is it because it's your first match here in Rome, or do you feel a little bit of pressure?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don't see a reason why I should feel any pressure. But, I mean, it's -- first matches are always tough. You're in, you know, a new environment, and different clay compared to Berlin - a lot faster and the bounce is a lot different. So I was trying tto, you know, find the timing But, you know, it has nothing to do with pressure.

Q. Are there advantages to preparing on the clay in Spain, as you did a couple weeks ago?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think there is because the red clay is a lot different in Europe than it is in the States. So I think -- plus, you're in the same time zone, which it makes it a lot easier when you come to the tournament.

Q. Is there something in the way that they work? Do you work with the coaches at the academy? Is there anything about the Spanish way that maybe is better for your preparation?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not really. I just work individually with my team, with my dad and my trainer and my sparring partner. I just use the facility over there.

Q. Are you enjoying your stay in Rome, and can we know what you do during the day when you're not playing tennis?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, if I have enough time, I -- there is so many things to see, so I love visiting Rome. There is -- on every corner there is something new to see. The people are very expressive. There are so many people around. It's just a really good vibe when you walk around the city. But, of course, you know, you will see me shopping, too. But first I want to win the tournament, then I'll hopefully have a few days where I can go and visit.

Q. Is it true that this morning you played soccer before you played?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. Over the net, yeah.

Q. Do you like it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I'm really bad at it (laughing). But it's fun, yeah, so that's why I do it.

Q. What are the feelings you get from being the most weighted player in the draw? Is that exciting for you? Is it a problem?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it's not a problem. You know, I know there are a lot of fans wherever I go. But, you know, I know they're very anxious to see me, but it's difficult because I know I have to go on the court and I have to, you know, play my game and I have to get off. But, you know, that's the only thing the fans see, is the way I play. But I'm, you know -- it's -- of course it makes it harder because, you know, they only see you when you play and compete, but they also want to, you know, interact with you and get to know you better. But there's so many fans, it's very difficult to do.

Q. You said on television that you would like to win this tournament. Whom do you think could be your opponent in the final?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I'm really just worried about the next round. I can't worry about who I'm going to play in the final; it's a long way to go. So I just have to focus one match at a time.

End of FastScripts….

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