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January 8, 2020

Maria Sharapova

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

J. BRADY/M. Sharapova

3-6, 6-1, 7-6

Q. Are there any positive information that you can take from this match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, one of them being that I showed up and I played and it's been awhile. And I think I hit, in total today, over 160 serves, which is a lot for me, considering I haven't played in a few months. So, yeah, it's definitely not the result I would have wanted because I would have loved to play another match, another opportunity, but that's this game.

Q. The physical aspect, how are you feeling right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was a long match. As I said I haven't played in a while. I think this is going to be a good test for my shoulder, not so much right now, but maybe tomorrow and the day after to see how I feel. I definitely lost like speed on it and strength toward the end of the match, but that comes with time. I have to be patient with that.

Q. How was your off-season and how are you feeling heading into 2020 overall?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I had a fairly solid off-season. Spent most of it in Italy with Ricardo and his team and that was nice. 2020 hasn't been very eventful so far. I've been fighting virus for a couple weeks and ended up in the hospital the other day, so that wasn't fun either, but.

Q. What sent you to the hospital?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just couldn't keep anything in. That's the extent that I'm going to share with you, just for your safety (laughing).

Q. Just, back on the match, Maria, you started incredibly well, seemed like everything was really sharp, returning especially, it seemed like things were clicking. Were there adjustments that she kind of made after that in the second set that you felt kind of hindered you, or was it just more match play, the fatigue setting in? What do you think changed?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know what, I think I only had two breakpoint opportunities in the whole match. Considering it was a match over two hours long, that's not a large number. So you can saying she served really solid and well, but I don't think I did enough there. I didn't put enough pressure on her from that end. I did take my opportunity in that first break in the first set and was really solid to close out that first set. And then I thought she did a really good job of taking care of her service games.

Q. And then in the third set, did you feel as though, you kept having to come through those tight service games, having to fight through, and was, did the kind of competitive -- I know you haven't been in match play -- but did the instincts kind of take over at that point, because it felt like maybe the game wasn't there consistently for you, but to take it into the tiebreaker was quite impressive.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, I think I'm always disappointed because it's a result-oriented sport. But I have to be proud of my effort because it's, you know, to get to that situation. And, yes, there were a lot of ups and downs and there are a lot of improvements I need to make. But I fought really hard in today's match, just getting out there and playing after having a rough couple of days, I think is a really good effort, and I think I did a lot better than I expected of my body today.

Q. You've played here a few times before. This tournament's just different obviously this year because the ATP Cup moved in and pushed the women's matches to the outer courts for the first several days. I'm just curious what you make of the change this time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you definitely recognize it and notice it. Feels like a little bit of a secondhand event. I don't know what you guys feel, I think. But, yeah, I'm sure that will change once, I think on Thursday the girls go back on center court. But it's definitely a bit of a strange strategic move. I'm not sure what -- I heard that, because the way that the court is constructed, that it's not regulation for us to be playing on center court with the benches on the side. So I don't know what else it might be that's preventing, because I think there's a lot of girls that are deserving of that center court spot in this draw. I think there are six out of Top-10 players.

Q. When you say strategic, whose strategy are you talking about? Are you talking about the tournament, the WTA, or who are you talking about?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's everyone's, right? Everyone should have a conversation about it. But that's just my outside view. I mean --

Q. You're pretty inside.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I honestly am not really. Like I don't know anything. I don't even know the rules of what's going on in there. Like I don't know. Probably most of you don't either so (laughing).

Q. You are ranked outside the cut for Melbourne. Are you expecting to get a wildcard?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think so, yeah.

Q. Will you play qualies if not?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I'm going to get one.

Q. You've been told that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You can ask Craig Tiley. I think he knows better.

Q. What is your level of optimism compared to last fall to now as far as how your shoulder might hold up to playing more tournaments in 2020?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Honestly, I don't know. There were times in the year where I was optimistic and it didn't. My optimism didn't follow up with how I really thought I would prevail and where I would feel. I didn't expect to play so little amount in 2019. So for me to say that I'm optimistic, I think it would be challenging, but I'm doing all the right work and I've done everything I could. I get asked about my shoulder, I think, in every interview that I do and the bottom line is I have a damaged shoulder that I've had and operated on, so it's not something that I'm going to wake up and be, like, I feel perfect. But a lot of it is managing the pain and doing all the right things and taking care of the rest of the body so that it helps the shoulder. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, that it's not just about the shoulder, it's also making sure everything else -- I spent a lot of time in the off-season working on my strength and my body, and more than I've ever done in my career, to help that joint.

Q. If there were a magic solution you would have found it by now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I've done everything that I could for it, yeah.

Q. What's it been like for you at this stage in your career doing the new Piatti tee thing, being part of that environment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's just so hot in here. Oh, my God.

Q. Being in a more team academy environment singing Christmas songs with Jannik Sinner, what were those things like?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did not think I would end up doing that, but I surprised myself.

Q. It was a surprise.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It really is. I really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed working with Ricardo. I've enjoyed working with his entire team and I love going back there. There's something really quaint and simple, and he's almost like a father figure, in a way, where he has so much experience. And I feel like at this stage in my career I've been through a lot, a lot of coaches, and a lot of, some of the greatest coaches in the world that I've had success with, and I feel like it's a really good place for me to be, his just sharing his wisdom and years of experience, and maybe not so much on the women's tour, but I've played this game for a long time so it's not so much technical as maybe more of a broader perspective. But when I came to him in July I went to see him to help me with my serve and help maybe look for a motion that will help my shoulder and maybe alleviate the pain a little bit, and that was like my first -- my goal of going to see him, because he is very technical and he works with video analysis a lot. So we really were like working on to see where my position of the shoulder is and where the pain was coming from, and all that. So he's done a really good thorough job of helping me with that and he has a good system in place for that. Yeah, and the people that, you know, he has alongside himself are really good quality people and I love the work that I do with them.

Q. Two days ago I saw a post that you were hospitalized. Is that correct? Can I ask you what happened?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just said it. I had a virus. I had a virus and it went into my stomach.

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