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May 29, 2018

Maria Sharapova

Paris, France

M. SHARAPOVA/R. Hogenkamp

6-1, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You seemed to have this one under control. Somehow it started to slip away. What happened? How did you find a way back into that match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I had a really good start, and I feel like I got very impatient in the second set for not many reasons. She was becoming a little bit more consistent, and I think I lost a little bit of pace on my ball, but I finished out six straight games. I think if there is any way to turn that match around, it's that way.

I think I can be proud of that effort, but I definitely stepped back a little bit, and wasn't as aggressive as I was through that 6-1, 3-1, but overall won the last point.

Q. Just spoke to Richel about that match. She said she noticed big difference that you keep focus in the third set, you're not panicking or whatever. Is that the biggest strength you had today, just focus on your game again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I have come back from a lot of matches in that position. If you look at it, I was only down one break, and, you know, the scoreline wasn't -- I mean, I lost like eight games in a row or maybe eight out of ten or one of those stats.

You know, no matter the score, I still knew that I produce quite solid tennis in order to get myself in a winning position, and I felt there is no reason that I couldn't get that back.

Q. You had very successful tournaments here. Last year you missed it. With what feelings are you coming back?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Exciting feelings. Great to be in this draw. Great to be back on a court that I have had great success at. I have always loved playing here. It's been, you know, from a young age, it was a Grand Slam that was very difficult for me to do well at physically, mentally. I overcame that.

So to be back here and kind of relive those moments playing back again is very exciting.

Q. Has it been difficult for you after changing coaches to find a new rhythm again, new focus again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I guess it's always an adjustment, you know, with a coach I did spend many years with, that I did have success with. So I think we both know each other very well from a professional standpoint, we know each other's personality, we know how to work with each other. So I think that made things maybe a little bit easier for me.

But it was certainly a difficult change, as I have spoken about many times already.

Q. You have said you have enjoyed playing at Roland Garros. We know you have had great success here in the past, winning it twice. What is it you love most about playing in Roland Garros and spending time in Paris?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I love the challenge of being in a Grand Slam draw and figuring out a way to win. I mean, throughout two weeks, you play against different opponents and different circumstances with weather, with a lot of waiting around like we did, you know, to sunshine.

So there is a lot of ups and downs, a lot of different feelings, different matchups. You've just got to find a way how to handle your emotions and how you handle the matches physically. I thrive on that. I enjoy that challenge, trying to see how I can bring that out of me, how I can keep my concentration, my focus throughout, you know, using my experience, as well.

It also doesn't hurt to be in one of my favorite cities, so...

Q. Have you seen maybe for a minute Serena, this match she's playing right now, her outfit, the Black Panther, or the cat, I don't know, the cat, whatever? What is your opinion about it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just got -- I did get a little glimpse, but I haven't seen too much of the match, but I think that's expected first Grand Slam back. Nike does a really good job of making statements.

Q. Fashion point of view?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, that's the great thing about tennis is that you can, like, express your individuality and be different. Yeah, I love that about it.

Q. You're obviously on a journey back and competing really well right now. When you look at what it took to win previously here, where do you feel your game is at right now and how much more development do you think you've got to be able to go deep into this draw?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, no year is the same, and no situation is the same. That's why I still enjoy competing, is because every week, every tournament brings kind of a new challenge and a new way to face it. Nothing is repetitive in this sport. Although you can use your experience and knowledge on what has helped you before, there is always new things and things that you have to come up against.

That's why I still enjoy playing.

Q. Last year they didn't give you a wildcard here. Do you feel welcomed and warmed with the organization here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt like I had a great reception today, yeah.

Q. Last year, didn't get a wildcard then.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think we have covered that subject many times already.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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