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January 27, 2005

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria, please.

Q. How did you let that one go?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I gave it all I had. You know, I played from my heart. You know, I didn't take my chances when I could. And that's what this game is about. If you don't take your chances, you lose.

Q. You played a lot of three-set matches in the tournament. You had energy fluctuations in the third set. What was left in your tank? Were you tired?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's not an excuse for me. Of course, you're tired. You're in a semifinal of a Grand Slam, but when you get on the court you don't think about if you're tired or not. In the third set you could see I was a little bit -- I wasn't moving as well as I was in the first and the second. But then, you know, I forgot about it and I just tried to do -- you know, just tried to play.

Q. What did Serena show you out there today on court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: What did she show me? Nothing.

Q. You think she played one of her better matches against you? How would you describe it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought it was a great match. I, you know, like I said, I gave it all I got and she gave it all she got. If you don't take your chances in this sport, you know... I mean, the match could have gone any way, and she took her chances and she played well when she needed to. And that's the difference.

Q. Would you say she played better than she played against you in Wimbledon and at the Masters today or not?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I think she got better as the match went on and she started to pick up her level. In the previous matches, I took my chances. In this match, she took her chances, and that's why she won.

Q. What do you think about when you think of the three matchpoints you had, each one, one by one?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: "Darn it." You know, this is not a sprint, it's a marathon. So I'm just riding along. I mean, of course I'm sad, and obviously it's a tough one lose. But I've got a long way ahead of me.

Q. Can you remember the last time you had three points in a match and lost?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not too many. Not too many to remember.

Q. Is there anything positive that you take out of your appearance here?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. I'm 17 years old and I got to the semifinals of the Australian Open. Nothing's negative.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the conditioning work you did over the winter.


Q. The conditioning work you did over the winter, whether you thought that helped you particularly over the tournament?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I've said this before. Mainly in my off-season I wanted to work on my physical aspect of the game. I wanted to make sure that I was ready for this heat and I was ready to play three-set matches. And I actually surprised myself that I could actually come back and be in the semifinals already playing three three-set matches, and then being in another one and being so close to winning and being in the final. You know, I'm really proud of myself.

Q. I understand you want to incorporate some yoga into your training? Can you talk about why you do that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I do yoga as a hobby when I have free time. It's good for stretching and good for the mind, makes you forget about the match you lost (laughing).

Q. Have you ever seen Serena grunt so loud?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I wasn't really paying attention so I don't know.

Q. You mentioned being 17. What areas of your game do you think you can improve in the years to come?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, what can I improve? Well, there are a lot of little things I can improve. I think physically is the most important. I still want to get more experience. You know, I'm not too keen on telling you what my game needs to improve.

Q. The players you play on tour, where do you rank Serena's competitiveness and fighting spirit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think she's one of the best competitors out there. I mean, she's been in those situations when she was down in the third set, and out of nowhere she knows how to turn it around. And, again, that comes from experience, that comes from her fighting spirit. But, you know, hopefully I'll learn and I'll improve.

Q. Does that knowledge cross your mind at all during the match, since you know that Serena has come back from deficits in matches before? Does that play on your mind a little bit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not during. I think just to ease myself after a match, I try to find excuses (laughing). No, no, I don't think about it during a match.

Q. Have you talked to your father and what has he said to you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, he says that I gave it all I had, that I shouldn't be sad about anything because I played with my heart. And he told me that it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. And it is.

Q. How do you rate Serena's chances now against Lindsay or Nathalie?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't care. I'm out of the tournament, so it doesn't matter anymore.

Q. Bit of consolation the fact that now you are the No. 1 Russian and that you are going to pass over Myskina?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am? I don't know (shrugging).

Q. You don't care?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I'm not No. 1 yet. I've said that's my goal.

Q. Have you got any plan for tonight, I mean, for the rest of the day?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. Take care of my body, get a massage and get ready for my next tournament, Tokyo.

Q. There's been talk about line calls in the last few days. Is there much talk in the locker room about the standard of calling in recent times?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not that I've known. No, not that I've heard of.

Q. Do you favor the move towards more technology?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've never really thought about it. I mean, you know, it's sport. Sometimes you're going to get calls your way and sometimes you're not. I don't know. We've never had a camera in the umpire's chair showing the call, so I don't know what it would be like, obviously. But if it can help, then, yeah, why not? But it has to be accurate.

Q. You players all have a good way of interpreting the other players' body language, looking at their physical condition, how they're breathing. Was there a point in this match you thought you pushed her over the edge and maybe she was about to not really give up, but maybe you were getting the best of her and physically she was not going to be up to doing what she had to do to stay with you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think it was important to not think about in what state she was. It was more important for me to figure out, you know, how strong I can be and if I can push myself rather than thinking about, you know -- obviously, body language tells you a lot. But I don't let people fool me. So I try not to look.

Q. Would you regard your rivalry with Serena now as the best in women's tennis?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, whenever we play, we always have exciting matches. So, yeah. You know, I always look forward to those tough ones.

Q. Were you aware that when you got broken in your first service game in the third set that you weren't grunting?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No idea. But thanks for letting me know.

End of FastScripts….

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