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June 6, 2018

Maria Sharapova

Paris, France

G. MUGURUZA/M. Sharapova

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Despite the result today, how do you assess your overall performance in the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I guess, you know, on paper it's a step in the right direction. I think not just -- it's tough to just assess a single tournament. I think I have to put a lot of things in perspective for the last, what, four, five weeks since the clay season.

Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first-round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning, of course.

But to have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction. But today was certainly not one of those steps.

Q. You hadn't played her since before she became a Grand Slam champion. It's been a while. What did you make of her game today? What do you think didn't work for you today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think she did a lot of things better than I did. I think she was the aggressive one. She had a lot more depth in the ball. I think my shots were a lot more forced.

She served a lot better than I did.

Q. Sometimes having a rest before a match like was forced on you, it can be a double-edged sword. Did it feel that way today that maybe not having played didn't help?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I made up for that by the amount of the hours that I have been on the court the last couple of weeks. So I don't think I can use that as an excuse.

Q. Forbes just issued a list of the top-earning athletes. And out of the top 100, there are actually no female athletes in that list. You're one of the most successful athletes of all time, and you're also very successful in business, as well. What are your thoughts that in financial terms, at least, there are no female athletes in that top 100 list? And can anything be done to redress that balance?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do you believe in that list?

Q. Well, it's based on certain factors, but...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which are what?

Q. Economic factors of perceived earnings.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: "Perceived" is the word we're looking for.

Q. But could it be the male journalist writing this, irrespective of whether the facts and figures are correct or not...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I guess that would be your job to find out.

Q. Female athletes aren't getting the recognition they deserve. What are your thoughts in general terms that maybe female athletes are not getting the recognition that they deserve?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think my answer to that is I don't take those lists very seriously.

Q. Today, during warmup and before the match, did you feel that your serve might not be all there today? Because at the start it felt like you really struggled to get going, especially on that aspect. Do you feel that was what held you back the most today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think it was one of them. I just didn't feel free, and I felt there was a lot of force behind all the shots and that it wasn't coming natural to me. Didn't have the rhythm. Gave her too many looks on second serves.

She's a great returner. I mean, there are a lot of things she does well. I think that's definitely one of the things that she did really well today.

Q. You have climbed up the rankings in the last few months, despite today's defeat. Do you have a set target in mind where you'd like to be towards the end of the year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't. You know, of course I expect certain things for myself, being in good positions throughout my career and putting myself in No. 1 ranking. Of course, you know what that feels like and you always have that as a target, there's no doubt.

But I'm also very realistic, and, you know, looking back at where I started, 40, 50 in the world, I don't know what I'll be after this event. So I guess it's nice counting those numbers, you know, getting somewhat of a reward for the efforts, whether they are small or large. But you have to take it. You have to appreciate that.

Q. GarbiƱe has come up as a Grand Slam champion in the last couple years since you last played her. In your career, early on, once you broke through, you were consistent about going deep in the majors. After that, she's had hot and cold last couple of years. What have you made of her career arc so far? On the outside it seems unpredictable because she's played well and then had a lot of dips.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I think that could be said for a few different players. I don't necessarily, you know, think that we should just pinpoint her out, you know, for speaking about that.

I think it takes -- you know, there is a lot of time for adjustment that happens once you become a Grand Slam champion, but it seems like she's handling it good. She's already won a second one, so I don't -- yeah.

Q. I wanted to ask you about your cameo on "Billions." What was that like and is that something you'd enjoy doing more of in the future?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't like 5:00 a.m. call times. I like sleep (smiling).

But I happened to be in New York during that time, and I was asked to be on it. And I enjoy watching the show, so I guess it's not a bad way to start your day, right? with those two great actors.

But, no, I don't think it's something -- you won't see too much of that from me in the future.

Q. After all those weeks of practice and competing on clay, where do you feel your body is at before the grass? Do you feel you need rest? Do you feel ready to go for the next phase?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think my body will need a little bit of rest, but, yeah, mentally I'm ready to go. You know, as I said, there are a lot of -- you know, you can look at today and, you know, although I don't want to erase it completely, there are a lot of things that I need to look at and face and work towards after this match.

But when I'm talking about progression or looking back at the weeks, I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs.

Looking at Madrid, Rome, I think that's always one of the toughest back-to-backs on the calendar, especially on a surface like clay. So to come out of these weeks and feel fairly healthy is a great thing.

Q. Back to Monday, we got late notice before what would have been the start of your match with Serena that she was pulling out. I'm guessing you had a lot of adrenaline building up to that match, and what was your experience trying to come down from the sudden news and what did you make of it? What was your reaction when the news came?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I hadn't had a withdrawal in -- I don't know how long. It's probably been, like -- I don't know. Maybe someone knows. Maybe like six years or something.

So I didn't really know what to do. Is there a Lucky Loser coming? No, we're deep in the tournament. I was, like, Okay, next round. That's just kind of how you handle it.

But, yeah, I mean, I think she made everyone wait a little bit.

Q. She had never withdrawn from a slam before, either.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't know that. Thank you.

Q. There was a lot of talk about your book and the buildup to that match. If you were to publish an updated version in a couple years' time, what would you want to read about and write about?

Q. Write about. What do you see the future in the next year or so...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: We are -- I don't know. We're not three years ahead yet. I guess we'll have to write it and read it.

Q. On the book, which I guess we haven't talked to you since Serena talked about it, what were your thoughts, her comments, criticizing the book as hearsay.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What were the comments?

Q. She said the book was 100% hearsay and not true and that she was surprised that you were so focused on her.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think it would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years.

I think there is a lot of autobiographies out in the world, especially in the sporting world, that don't necessarily speak about whether they were rivals or someone they competed against.

And I think we played many matches. Some of those matches were very defining for me. It would be very strange, I think, if I didn't write anything about her. I think everyone would ask me questions, as well.

So I'm not entirely sure how to go about that answer. When you're writing an autobiography, I don't think there is any reason to write anything that's not true.

Q. You wrote a mid-career autobiography and you were about to play Serena again. Was that at all in your mind publishing the book, talking about people who were still active, people you have to see again down the road?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I think if it was, I probably wouldn't do it, right?

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