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August 30, 2006

Maria Sharapova

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That was a pretty devastating display of serving out there.

Q. I'd rather hear what you have to say about your quickness around the court tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I've been training pretty well the last week. But after having a couple days where you're not able to practice probably as much as you want to, you know, couldn't practice yesterday, couldn't practice two days ago. So, you know, that was a little bit different actually before a Grand Slam. I've never really even at Wimbledon, I've never really had that.
Going into tonight, I just wanted to make sure I warmed up really well, was moving around. That was going to be one of the most important thing against someone you don't really know, is just to play your game. I've been hitting them well. It's just a matter of going out there, figuring out as early as possible what I had to do.

Q. Is that fresh legs after two weeks off out there tonight, or are you really that much quicker than you were earlier in the year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, it's hard to judge my quickness based on this match. I don't think we had too many long rallies. But in the first set, I served pretty well. She was hitting some pretty big second serves, and I couldn't really get, you know, a clear rhythm out there. But in the second set I definitely felt like there were longer points and I found my rhythm a little bit better.

Q. That was about as perfect a first round that you played at a Slam, too.

Q. You can't have too many complaints.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no. I mean, it was definitely a good start, but it's only gonna get tougher from here. You know, just got to rest up and be ready for tomorrow, you know.

Q. Do you like having to play a player who might be a threat in the first round just because it forces you to focus early on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, either way, I'm usually pretty focused because. I mean, I've had opponents I mean, San Diego first round was a really good example. An opponent I've never heard of before. She came out in the first set and just played some pretty good tennis. And that's you know, you don't expect that from lower ranked player. But when they come out and they play against someone that's, you know, top 10 in the world, they come out and they're free. They can just play some good tennis.
She's definitely been playing really well this year, so I knew I had to expect some good points.

Q. The women's draw seems so wide open right now. Kim not being here. Serena having a wildcard. Do you feel like this is your year, this is your time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, well, we can't say that it's pretty wide open draw just because Kim is not here. You know, still pretty tough. You still have most of the top players playing. Uhm, but, you know, I can't worry about how wide open or not open it is. All I have to do is just concentrate on my next round.

Q. I mean confidence wise, do you feel like your confidence
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Like I said, one is I'm healthy, that's the most important thing. I haven't felt healthy coming into a Grand Slam in a while. And I've, you know, gotten some good matches behind my back. I got a title a couple weeks ago. Yeah, I mean, that's a definitely confidence booster.

Q. In terms of movement on the court, bone bruises gone, shoulder's fine, what can you do now that you couldn't do earlier in the year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, I definitely couldn't train as much on the court. I couldn't play that many, you know, matches leading into big tournaments. I mean, I tried to do all the things possible. I tried to do all things possible when I was injured, you know, whether with the shoulder I couldn't serve a lot but I was still, you know, getting it stronger. You know, with the bone bruise I really couldn't put a lot of pressure on it for quite some time, quite a few weeks. So it was more like bike workouts and all that, you know, without actually running.
But, I mean, I've been able, you know before San Diego, after Wimbledon, I was concentrating on my fitness, you know, quite a lot. It was more important than my tennis for a week, you know. I was doing more of that than hitting the ball. I definitely think that's, you know, going to help me in the future.

Q. Are you expecting a call?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: With my phone? It's just a natural habit. I can't live without a phone.

Q. Can you talk about the dress. You hinted that you have a different fashion for J Wear.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, yeah, I was. The whole inspiration for the night dress was Audrey Hepburn. I'm really inspired by her. I'm in a phase where I'm like watching all her movies. I haven't seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's" since like three weeks ago, then I saw "Roman Holiday," then I read some books about her. That's where the inspiration came off. It's classy, it's elegant. I love the neck of it. That was kind of my input towards the design. Yeah, all the crystals and everything. But, yeah, I'm very excited. It's one of my favorite dresses that I've ever worn. It's pretty cool. The day dress is a little different.

Q. And that's all?

Q. No preview besides that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The day dress?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it's not as exciting as the night dress, I'll tell you that. But it's kind of a lavender color, has some lace mesh material.

Q. How do you feel about being in New York? Do you get more energy off the buzz, or does it wear you down?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I personally love New York, and I love it even with every year I come back, I love it. First time I came here I was 11 or 12 years old, I couldn't understand anything about it. I didn't understand the hype. As I've been coming back, it's become one of my favorite cities. Just so much going on in each little town, has its own feel. That's pretty amazing going to Times Square, then going to Upper Eastside, it's crazy.

Q. Your serving today was up around 80%.

Q. Was it one of those nights where you felt, I can do anything with my serve I want to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I actually didn't think I was hitting my serve big but I was placing it really well. That was I mean, like I said, with me, I think that's a big key for me, is consistently placing it, you know, placing it where, you know, I come up to the line and I know that I can place it there. I don't really think about how hard I'm going to hit it.

Q. Ten aces.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that was probably one of the best service displays I've had in my career.

Q. What draws you to Audrey Hepburn? Why do you find her intriguing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I was in Anthropology I'll be honest with you. I was in Anthropology a couple months ago. I love all their books. I picked one book up about her and I read it. Yeah, I just thought that she was amazing. I didn't realize what she just did. She was just an actress, but, I mean, she was part of UNICEF, an ambassador for UNICEF, all the things she did for children in her life. She never expected to be the best at what she was, but she always put that effort in. Yeah, I just started watching her movies and reading about her. I go through phases. I'll be in another phase next month.

Q. You're in your Holly Go Lightly phase right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, yeah. We'll see what it is in a couple months.

Q. I'm from Chile. They have announced you couple of years that you are going to play there. Do you have any plans about going to Chile really?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not currently, no. Not currently, no. As an exhibition?

Q. Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not currently, no, I don't.

Q. Only blip, you had two or three games in the first set where your service returning was not what you wanted. Are you concerned about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it was just at the beginning, I just couldn't quite figure out I think her motion. She had missed the first serve, and I would try to put some pressure on her second but she came out with some serves that were probably 95 miles per hour second serves, which were pretty tough to attack. But I figured out I need to stand back a little bit more, maybe make her hit a ball, whereas I was just making the error on the return.
I mean, as the matches go on, as I play more, I'll definitely improve on that.

Q. I'm sure you can understand that there's a buzz in the tennis world about whether you and Andy are a couple. I was wondering if you could say if you guys are dating. If so, did you buy him a birthday gift today.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it his birthday? I had no idea. I have no idea.
You know what, I really don't talk about my personal life. And, you know, when two tennis players know each other and are friends, and are known around the world, there's people are gonna talk. That's exactly what's happening.

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