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March 25, 2006

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria.
Q. I just wanted to know a little bit about your outfit. This is the first time you debuted it. You were pulling at it, tugging at it a little.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was different to anything I've ever worn. I mean, the corset is -- I mean, I've never seen it on a tennis court before. Nike just came out with a dance collection. I saw some of the stuff, and I was really intrigued by it and I loved it because I love dance and I love art. They came up with the idea of trying to incorporate it into a tennis outfit so it was really cool that they had a skirt that was in the dance line. And we just kind of fitted it.
It was coming up a little bit, so I had to tug it down, but I'll fix it for my next match. But the corset, I loved, it was beautiful.
Q. Can you talk about the beginning of the second set when you fell down a little bit.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I played -- when I broke her I played a really sloppy game on my serve. I made about -- missed six out of seven first serves, which, you know, I was serving great in the first set and all of a sudden just didn't make any first serves.
And, you know, she took advantage of that, gained confidence from that, and started hitting winners left and right. Credit to her, she played good and I got a little bit sloppy.
So, you know, I just kind of told myself I needed to step in a little bit, put a little bit more pressure on her.
Q. Were you nervous at all seeing all these other top-rated players that had gone down early?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I mean, you try not to, you try not to think about it when you go on the court. Of course it's disappointing for the tournament. But, you know, it's hard to look at that when you have your own draw to look at.
Q. Did it feel at all like the crowd was pro Li? At some point it seemed like she was getting loud cheers. Did you feel they were with you, against you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think the crowd just wants a really good match. I think they, once the first set was over pretty easily with two breaks, they were just trying to get her going. That's part of the sport. That's why it's great. I love it when the fans try to bring out the best of tennis out there from both of the players.
Q. What changed in the middle of that second set when you kind of started to get --
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I just stepped in the court a little bit more and just put some pressure on her. She started making a little bit more unforced errors. She was hitting winners left and right when she was getting up to 4-1. She was going for it and missed a few.
Q. Justine, Clijsters and Mirza lost. Do you think it was a surprise?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, obviously, yeah, they're the top seeds of the tournament. Of course it's a surprise.
But, you know, Kim hasn't played in a while. It's always difficult to come back from not playing a while and playing great tennis. I mean, I know what it feels like. Last year I wasn't playing a lot of tennis and had to come into the Grand Slam without having a lot of matches and it's very difficult. You know, for Justine, you know, it's hard to say, she played last week. This is tennis, the good thing is you always have next week.
Q. What do you think it means for you now and the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just have to take it a match at a time. I mean, I'm not going to focus on who's out or in.
Q. You have another match tomorrow afternoon.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uh-hmm, yeah.
Q. What do you think about that quick turnaround?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's different, but I've done it before and, you know, it's nothing new. Just got to get a good night's sleep and be ready for tomorrow.

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