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July 1, 2006

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Maria Sharapova.

Q. How was that match for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was pretty good. You know, she hits a really flat ball, so, you know, at some points of the match, you know, I got a little bit confused because she would hit a -- big serve, then hit a double-fault. Kind of got me out of my rhythm a little bit.
Other than that, it was good.

Q. Was it off-putting to see the court half empty?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't really pay attention, no. I don't know.

Q. What have you been working onto improve your tennis lately? You work pretty hard in your practices.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, trying to come in a little bit more, you know, work on my serve more, the placement. You know, I don't know.

Q. When you see someone like Nadal, do you think, What if I stayed left-handed?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, no, I don't think like that. I don't think "what if." It's hard to look back and think what would have happened if I did something differently.
I always try to work with the present.

Q. How is the ankle at the moment? Do you feel your game is coming back now as you're getting over the injury?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, my ankle's doing a lot better. It's not restricting me when I move out there. So I feel a lot better on my movement. I feel like I'm starting new. When points get a little bit long, I feel like I'm more in control, whereas on clay I felt a little bit out of it, wasn't quite moving well certainly because of the tape on my ankle. Without the tape, I feel a lot looser and freer.

Q. You work so hard on your tennis, but you also have a lot of other opportunities off the court that you try to manage, too. How are you able to balance those, make time for your tennis and do all the other stuff, too?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I set my priorities really straight. Number one is tennis. Number two and three and four and five are all the other things that I have to do. I think nothing pretty much gets in the way of my tennis. I schedule my practices first. I have a calendar with all my tournaments. Based on what days I have out, what weeks I can take off, do my shoots, that's how I do them.

Q. Ljubicic told me he only goes about four or five months at a time scheduling his tennis. Do you go a year or four months?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, we have to commit to six months at a time.

Q. About your movement a bit freer now, how confident do you feel about your game in general? Do you feel it's a hundred percent or is it 80 percent of what you would want?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I got a pretty good test today, because she's a pretty solid grass court player with her game, her serve is pretty flat, she takes the first ball, likes to hit her shots. I feel like I got a pretty good workout out there. I had to work for the match.
I definitely feel confident going into the fourth round.

Q. What do you know about your next-round opponent, Pennetta?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have played her before, but a really long time ago. That was on hard court. Got to expect the best from her. Obviously don't know, haven't seen any of her matches, but she must be playing good, solid tennis. Just have to, you know, look to improve and get better.

Q. Do you ever think about coming so far from Russia? Do you ever reflect on what this tennis thing means? It's kind of this bubble, this tennis world. Do you ever think about that or talk about that with your family at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do once in a while with my family and friends. In random moments you do look back and you think of where you came from, what you've achieved since. I don't try to look to it too often. I just try to keep working hard because obviously, you know, it seems like I've achieved a lot, but I think there's still so much more when I achieve and I want to get better and better with every day.
You know, maybe when my career's over, I'll actually, you know, have like a huge day where I can just look back and think of all that.

End of FastScripts...

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