September 4, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria, please.
Q. You said before this tournament that you have a lot of years ahead of you, that you might not win it this year, and that would be okay. Do you feel okay right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do. I feel fine. Even though, you know, it's a tough loss, even though I was up a break. I mean, these things happen. You can't win all of them. Unfortunately, I didn't win today.
Q. What happened to your serve today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, there was nothing really wrong with my serve. I think I just tried to go for too much at the wrong times. You know, I think on a few balls, she put some pressure on me, and that made me want to hit the ball harder. Those are the things I just have to sort of realize and learn from them.
Q. Has it been a pretty exhausting six or eight weeks since Wimbledon, with everything that's happened, playing in the hot weather here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's tough. I mean, it's not easy, of course. But it's my career. It's my life, you know. If you win something big, then a lot of things will happen. But you've got to move on. You know, I lost today, but I still have to move on. It's not the end of the world. There are a lot more important things in the world going on right now than my loss.
Q. Can you talk about the black ribbon that you wore.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I mean, in Russia, it's terrible what's going on. 1st of September is when so many kids go to school, it's the first day of school back. They go in with the flowers and the whole family. All of the kids and the teachers, you know, have this big party. Unfortunately, the terrorists, you know, decided to do something bad with those families and kids. It just shows that my loss is just -- has, I mean -- what's going on in the world today, my loss, you know, it's a little thing.
Q. How did you decide to wear the black ribbon? Where did that come from?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just to show my support. You know, I came up with the idea last night. I thought, you know, just to show my support for the victims and for the families that were, you know, unfortunately what happened to them. But it was just my decision. You know, some of the other girls in the locker room picked it up, too.
Q. When Pete Sampras won here, he came back the next year, and after he lost, he said it was something of a relief to have all the pressure off. Do you feel now maybe the pressure's off a little bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I never really focused on the pressure, first of all. You know, I am that kind of athlete that I love the nerves and I love the pressure because I feel like that's part of the game. It's impossible for somebody to go out and not feel pressure or not to feel nerves. It's just part of the game. You know, I don't really think it was about the nerves, my loss today. But, of course, yeah, you just have to move on. There's so many things I have to work on. That will give me the chance to do so.
Q. Some tough matches in this tournament. Were you tired mentally, you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I don't think that was the major problem today concerning why I lost. But, of course, it's difficult to have tough matches. But that's just the way it is. It's what I have to learn, that you're not going to win every match easy. You have to battle some of them out. You know, I battled the first two out, and today I couldn't finish the third.
Q. What was the major problem?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think the major problem was that I tried to do too much at a certain time when I didn't need to do it. And she's an experienced player and she knows what it takes. I think I've just got to learn those things. Especially on my serve, I just went for too much at the wrong times.
Q. The recent tragedy brought a lot of sorrow. Did you have any indications that your incredible victory at Wimbledon brought a lot of pride, a lot of joy to your people?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I sure hope so. You know, I love playing for my country, getting the support. You know, especially for the kids and everybody, I mean, showing my example of what I can achieve so early. And maybe, you know, they can achieve it, too, just to get that in their minds. Like I said, you know, once you pick up a racquet or you just start playing, it's great to be an inspiration to other young kids back home.
Q. Were there any specific examples at all you could point to from Russia after Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think, you know, not just my success but the success of so many of my country women. I think a lot more younger girls and boys are starting to play tennis now. The clubs are packed. You know, everybody just wants to see if they can make it.
Q. The nine matches that you played since winning Wimbledon, did you come close or approximate the quality you had in the final at Wimbledon against Serena?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, it's hard to say what level you're on because at Wimbledon you're playing on grass. I mean, balls that I hit over there are not going to be, you know, winners here. So, I mean, same thing with the serve. Some serves that I hit on grass would have been aces in here. I can hit another ball and I can make an error, and all of a sudden you think you're not playing that great. I mean, I think grass and hard is a totally different story. It's hard to compare your game.
Q. As far as today's match goes, you had over 30 unforced errors. Did you beat yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think there are a few points where I did go for too much at the wrong times. But that goes to the credit that my opponent had the experience. I mean, even though I made so many unforced errors, I lost in three sets. So some people who make so many unforced errors, they lose 0-0. If I wouldn't have made those unforced errors, I could have won the match easily. So I'm not going to put that much pressure on myself by saying, you know, you've made so many errors. But, I mean, yeah, I still lost, and there's so many things I still got to work on.
Q. I think you got a warning for coaching in the second set. Do you know what that was about?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think my dad was showing something, but I wasn't really looking. I was like, "Whatever."
Q. You've obviously been following the events in Russia. How have you gotten the news?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The Internet and also at night they show a lot of the news. I watch the news on TV. And yesterday accidentally I turned on the channel, and they actually had live news broadcasting from Russia in Russian, so that was good to see.
Q. Was that a distraction at all? Were you thinking about that at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it's not a distraction. It's just an example of what can happen in life and that this sort of doesn't really mean anything. I mean, a lot more things are happening in the world right now than my loss.
Q. Would you ever consider developing your chips and slices to complement your power game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but that's not going to happen overnight. It's a long-time process, and that's one of the things that I have to work on. I wouldn't say I'm going to all of a sudden become a chip-and-slice person.
Q. Have you been to Thailand before?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No.
Q. Thailand government going to ask you to visit Thailand. How do you feel?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm very excited. When I get a chance to visit new countries, I'm up for it, because this is part of my life, and I love to travel and I love to see new countries, new cultures. You know, I've heard Thailand is an amazing place.
Q. Where would you like to visit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Where? I haven't looked at the -- I haven't been there, so I don't really know much about the country. But I'm sure once I get there, I'll get a lot of recommendations.
Q. When is the last time you were in Russia?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: End of last year.
Q. To play?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, practicing. I was there mainly to visit.
Q. Who is your main coach?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: My dad.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.