September 2, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria.
Q. Were you caught off guard that she turned it on in the second set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. She's that type of a player that can turn it on. Doesn't matter even though I won 6-0, I knew that she can come up with the goods later on. I was ready. But, you know, it was just too good from her side.
Q. What was your mindset going into the third?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: After the first game, I thought I was pretty much in control. When I broke her, I felt that I could hit any shot from anywhere from the court. You know, that's a good feeling to have when you're in the third set. So that kind of gave me that boost. You know, I felt really good.
Q. You keep saying you want to come in more. I guess your coaches are telling you that. What's stopping you from doing that? Not in your nature?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just the actual thing of doing it. I mean, in practice, you practice it, and you're going in. But in match situations, sometimes I just hesitate. But I actually did it a lot more today.
Q. In what way is it a little bit harder for you on hard courts than grass? What do you miss from grass that you don't get on a hard court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, the serve advantage, I think a lot of the first serves come back here than in Wimbledon. A lot of the serves either don't come back, or it's an easy shot. Also the points are a lot shorter. The surface is a lot tougher on the body, as well.
Q. Looks like you're going to play Mary Pierce in the next round.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Never played her before. I guess just go out and just play my game. Hopefully pick up the weaknesses, the strengths from the beginning.
Q. Do you think you're playing well?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think I'm playing the best tennis, but I also don't want to be playing the best tennis from the first and second round. I've been able to pull it through and pull out some tough matches, which I'm very thankful for. I think my game has picked up from my last match, which is very good. Hopefully I'll maintain this.
Q. Are you worried you might not manage to pull it out? Your first round wasn't clean. This second set.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt more confident in this round than I did in the last. Especially in the third set, I felt I was in control. Look, she's 30 or 40 in the world. That just shows how high the tennis level is right now.
Q. Have you ever practiced together?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not lately.
Q. Do you remember anything of her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just from the Juniors a long time ago, but not much.
Q. How do you feel differently being at a Grand Slam? First one since Wimbledon. Something really come over you when you're in a Grand Slam environment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just the opportunity, you know, to be a Grand Slam champion, coming into another Grand Slam. It's an amazing feeling. A lot more excitement. You know, you're a Grand Slam champion. I don't know. It's an exciting feeling.
Q. Do you thrive off that sort of increased intention? Does that motivate you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It does. I want to perform better, of course, and I want to do well. I love expectations, so that sort of drives me.
Q. What about your outside life? Is it impinging on you now? Is it threatening to possibly take away from your tennis time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. No.
Q. Because you're a hot item with endorsers and so on.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I know my limits. I personally know when is the time to work hard and when is the time to do, you know, other things off court. And I felt that I've been doing that very well. You know, unfortunately you just have to say no and be mean to many of those people, but that's just the way it goes, you know.
Q. Hard to say no?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, yeah. You know, I'd rather say yes than no, of course, to people with any kind of questions. But no is shorter.
Q. What has been the nicest compliment about winning Wimbledon you've got either from a current player or past player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A lot of the players, you know, especially the ones that are on tour right now, of course Martina was still there when I won at Wimbledon, and she congratulated me. I mean, Kim, you know, everybody.
Q. Does it seem like a dream as you look back on it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I sort of don't want to look back at it right now because I've just got to focus on the present. You know, what happened was amazing. I just want to look forward to what's happening now.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.