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January 21, 2005

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria, please.

Q. Was that a nice workout for you?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was. I felt pretty good out there. I was hitting pretty solid, doing the right things, serving well, putting pressure on her.

Q. We don't see your father smiling very often. Was he smiling tonight?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you know, if your daughter played, you know, I wouldn't see you smiling during her match so... You know, he's very intense during my matches. Obviously, all parents want you to win. But off the court, you know, he's all smiles and joking around with me.

Q. Was your game where you wanted it to be tonight?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt that I did everything I needed to do in order to win. You know, I was playing solid. I was concentrating very well. You know, the points that I needed to win, I won.

Q. What do you remember of the match that you lost in Rome with Silvia Farina?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I remember not being very patient with her. She was a very -- she played a very good match that time and, you know, it was on clay. She definitely had the advantage there. But, you know, but a lot of things have happened since then. So, you know, hopefully I can use my experience to, you know, to beat her.

Q. Have you seen her playing recently? Do you have a tactic, a strategy?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always keep my tactics to myself.

Q. You say a lot of things have happened since then. Do you feel a different person from a year ago?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not as much a person, I feel more as a player. Definitely when I play top players, when I play seeded players, I know that, you know, I'm No. 4 in the world and when they see me in the draw they don't say, "Well, I really wanted to play her." So, you know, I feel a bit of confidence in myself that I know that even if I'm playing, you know, a seeded player, somebody that's been on a roll, I know that I'm, you know -- I've been in those situations as well and I know what to do and I feel more experienced.

Q. Did you hear the fan yell?


Q. In the second set, when the umpire made the warning to the crowd.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I heard someone said something. I didn't hear what he said.

Q. What do you make of the fuss about the sounds you make on the court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: God, this topic was over a long time ago. Well, let's get back to 2004. And, well, what do I think? I don't think, that's my whole opinion. I don't think about, you know, what my mouth does when I play out there.

Q. We have to write something about you and Farina, so if you can tell us something more about Farina, what you think is her best stroke...

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I really don't know what her best stroke is. I've only played her once, which is on clay. You know, I know she gets a lot of balls back, she's a fighter, and you can expect the best from her. Does that help (smiling)?

Q. Do you remember you had a set point when you played against her?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I don't remember many of my matches, especially the ones I lost.

Q. In a big tournament like this, do you watch some television and see how other players are playing, or how other players are not playing so well?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, when I have a break from schoolwork or if I'm feeling really, really bored, I'll watch tennis, yes. But that's it.

Q. Which is your favorite player to watch when you are not so bored?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always like exciting matchups. I always loved when Agassi played Pete Sampras. I thought those were, you know, classic matches where you know the tennis is going to be unbelievable. I don't, you know -- there's no one in particular. Obviously, Roger is playing out of his mind right now and you'll never get bored watching him because he can come up with anything, anything you ask him to come up with. As for the women, I don't really watch the women too much.

Q. Out of the many Russian girls that are around, which one are your best let's say friends?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maria Kirilenko.

Q. And out of the most famous ones?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: She's going to be famous.

Q. How did you develop the relationship with her?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I've known her for a long time because we played the same junior events in Europe under-14, I think. That's when we met up.

Q. Are you ever curious to know something more about Anna Kournikova? So many times they talk about, "You are the new Kournikova." I understand that you are not to come back to this subject, but are you curious about her life, about what she does outside tennis with Julio Iglesias and other things? Interesting or not?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'd actually like to learn more about myself (laughing).

Q. I just want to know if for yourself it's interesting.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, there are other -- you know, I don't know why you just mentioned Anna. I mean, there are a lot of other people that are on the cover of People and Us every week. Yeah, I like to read gossip, but not just particularly hers, you know. I like gossip, yeah, but... But it's just a hobby, you know.

End of FastScripts….

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