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March 18, 2005

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria.

Q. What can you say?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: As I said, I didn't feel like I was there today. She came out playing really good tennis. You know, whenever I didn't give her, you know, a hard ball, she would just take the opportunity and just go for her shots and everything seemed to be going her way. Any opportunities I had, you know, I couldn't do anything with them.

Q. When is the last time you were in a position in a match like that where you just couldn't get anything going, whatever you were trying?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I've been in situations where, you know, I would lose the first set easily. But, you know, sometimes, you know, your opponent's playing too good or, you know, you just try to think positive and try to figure out -- somehow figure out a way maybe you can sneak in somewhere, somehow, and maybe she'll start making a few errors, you'll get a little bit more confidence. But it definitely didn't happen today.

Q. Your trademark is to be behind in some games, but come back and win. Were you kind of looking for the breakthrough, where would it turn around?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, of course. In every situation like that, you try to do something different, you try to figure out what you're doing wrong. You know, I just tried to find an opportunity, but I really couldn't. I know I play well from behind. But I just wasn't feeling like anything was out there today.

Q. What is your emotion right now? Anger? Frustration? Disappointment?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, when you're not there and you're not playing well, I guess there's not too much you can do after the match is lost. To me losing 7-6 in the third or whatever, you know, is a loss. You know, I don't like to lose, but like I said, I'll go out on the court and I'm sure I'll want to work hard. You know, I'll be back fresh again.

Q. Do you think this has any bearing on you playing her the next time or does it make you just want to focus more?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, you're playing the No. 1 player in the world. You know you have to be focused, no matter when you play her. You know, you always have to expect the best because she is the best. I guess next time I go out, I just got -- I definitely have to do something different.

Q. You're a big role model to young kids over the world. If you had 30 seconds, what would you tell kids about how be successful in life and on the tennis court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think most importantly, you know, always do the best you can. It doesn't even have to be tennis, I guess. Always work as hard as you can because I always find that after a few months or years, you'll remember the moment where you didn't think you worked hard enough or you didn't give that extra effort. I definitely think that they should enjoy whatever they are doing, because that's the most important thing.

Q. Did you watch the Australian Open final?


Q. In a match like that, despite your pride, how competitive you are, does it ever reach a point where you start thinking, let's just get out of here and go home?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, because even when I was down 6-Love, 5-Love, you know, in the back of my mind I always think that something -- you know, you always get an opportunity. It's a matter of taking your opportunities. I had a breakpoint. I had a lot of -- I was up 30-Love a few times on my serve, and I just didn't take my opportunities. You know, that's just the way it goes.

Q. How big a factor was the wind out there?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was a factor. You know, you're playing in totally different conditions. I've never played, you know, such a big-hitting player in these kind of conditions. I guess even when you get a little opportunity, you hesitate a little because you know the conditions are not good. You're not sure if you're ball's going to go in or how you're hitting the ball because you just don't have the opportunity, you know, to know because everything she's doing, it seemed like everything was going great, and you couldn't find your timing.

Q. Can you put Lindsay in perspective relative to the other players who hit a heavy ball. Where does she fit in?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, I would say she's probably the biggest and most consistent hitter out there. I mean, you know, not only do you hit big but you have to hit consistently big. From all over the court today, I felt she could hit any big shots, she could change direction, hit balls to the same side. It was like she was just dictating play all the time.

Q. Do you remember losing love-love before?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I probably did, when I was younger, when the girls were seven, eight years older than me. Those are the only people I usually played with, because that's how I got competition.

Q. Was that at Nick's?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't remember. I don't know.

Q. Did you feel from the start it just wasn't clicking today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt like from the beginning on the first point, she just -- the conditions were -- you know, usually the first few games you just got a groove out there, try to figure out what's working, what's not. From her first return, she just banged the ball in. Even though I won that point, it was like she was just dictating the whole point. I never felt like, you know, I could start the point off, and never felt like I could dictate the play and I was in control.

Q. How will you regroup from this? Is there a desire to get on a practice court this afternoon or will you leave it for a couple of days?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, probably not today. But, you know, I'm going to take a few days off and get ready for Miami, you know, because that's the next big one.

Q. How does she end up dictating to you a whole match, when the last time you played her, both tough matches, but you dictated in both those matches pretty well?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, you know, depends on the day. I think today -- I don't know. I felt like she just hit the ball. There are days where I go out on the court and I feel like I can't miss a ball. I think today was just one of those days where you're playing terrible and she's just hitting every single ball, you know, as hard as she can on the line. I mean, I probably saw like the white marks from the balls. There were probably like 20 on the same spot, you know (laughter). I was just like...

Q. In some statistical result, you take the best result and throw it out, the worst result and throw it out. Does that apply to this, it was just so bad it's not relevant to where and who you are as a player?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I mean, I was playing the No. 1 player in the world. I mean, you know, you can't expect me to win every single match I play out there. Even if it's love-love, or 7-6 in the third, you know, there's just days like that where it's going to happen. But I'll learn and I'm going to be stronger from these experiences.

Q. Is this your most disappointing loss?


Q. What was?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I think Australia was one of the disappointing losses, especially when you have match points and feeling like you're in control of the match, just giving it away. Today was totally opposite. I didn't feel like I had a chance. So there's no disappointment. Well, there is, but, you know, it's going to be over soon.

Q. The fact you have to go on the court a little sooner because of Agassi, were you ready, warmed up?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I was ready. That had nothing to do with it.

Q. You said you shouldn't be expected to win every match, which is understandable. But do you expect for this to ever happen to you again as a player, you yourself?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, I don't know. There are going to be times in my career where I'm going to go out there and I'm not going to be playing my best tennis that I can. Yesterday I thought I was playing really well. And today I just wasn't -- you know, I wasn't feeling it out there. I guess, you know, you don't know. Like I always say, you just got to wake up and play. I can never tell you what's going to happen tomorrow because I don't know.

End of FastScripts….

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