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September 6, 2006

Maria Sharapova

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tatiana said the thing that separates you from other players is when things get really tough, you step up your game.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I just enjoy the battle of it. You know, I enjoy those moments. I love playing tennis because I'm a competitor. I love the competition. I'll be honest with you, I don't do it just to go out on the court and practice and hit balls over and over. That's definitely not fun for me.
But I do it to be in, you know, those moments and try to succeed in them. I love it, yeah.

Q. Justine was saying the other day, and Amélie said today, that this has always been sort of their least favorite of the majors. They find a lot of the noise, the circus environment can sometimes be distracting. You seem to really thrive in this environment. It's your third night match. How do you take to this vibe?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, you have to come into it prepared. You know that it's I mean, personally, it's my second favorite Grand Slam after Wimbledon. But I think I love the fans and I love that they're really into, you know, the match. They get into it, I love that.
I think, you know, when they start cheering for both and they bring that intensity. And fans really do get you playing well if you're not. I mean, they'll really get you on your feet if you're down, and they'll support you. You know, those real, hard fans. There are a lot of them here. Some are a little bit crazy with their drinking their beers every once in a while. But I love it. I'm prepared for it when I come here. It is busy. There might be traffic going in and out of the city. But other than that, it's fine.

Q. Speaking of preparation, you're getting Mauresmo. You haven't beat her before. She's obviously a big step up for you. Talk about the challenge she presents.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, she's definitely the player to beat right now. Honestly, I don't have anything to lose going into this match. You know, she's No. 1 in the world. She's won two majors this year. She's got all the confidence in the world. All I want to do is just go out there and, enjoy the moment of it. And, you know, I've been in quite a few semis in a couple years after Wimbledon. You know, been there and gotten close in some. I look forward.
I mean, this is a new experience, a new opportunity for me. Hey, if I take my chances and just go out there and enjoy it, you know, I can come up with a win.

Q. Do you have to play her differently than you played her at Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, Wimbledon is different. I mean, I don't think I mean, I don't know, but I don't think she's going to be serving and volleying every single ball, as she probably did there.
You know, the points are a lot quicker there. I need to be patient, yeah, but I'm not just gonna go out of my way and change my game in order to beat her, you know.

Q. Our cameras love watching your father watch you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm sure they do.

Q. Was it a big coincidence, right after he grabs a banana, you're grabbing a banana, right after he drinks water, you're drinking water.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it a coincidence? Probably. I don't know. It's up for you to decide. You have the camera, I don't.

Q. Did you see him grabbing the banana or water?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do I see? Well, if I'm looking at him, I usually see, yeah. Not blind, as far as I know.

Q. You just said you don't have to change your game. Obviously, you can't make radical changes to your game.

Q. You talked about the third set at Wimbledon, too, where you didn't necessarily feel like you played smart tennis.

Q. Thinking in the match against her is probably going to be critical so you're not making mistakes and she's not moving you around the way she wants to move you around.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just thought I had all the momentum in the world going into the third set at Wimbledon. I didn't use that to my advantage. When you're playing a top player that is confident, that's playing good tennis, I mean, if you don't take your chances, you should be getting your ticket. I mean, that's the reality of it, you know.
In tennis, you got to take your chances. And against top players, there are not going to be a lot.

Q. Could you take a moment and talk about the "I Feel Pretty" commercial.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: If you go on my website, I talk about it a little bit, actually. I wrote a few paragraphs talking about it. But, yeah, it was shot at Arthur Ashe Stadium and the Waldorf right after Wimbledon. It was a two day commercial. Yeah, it was pretty fun.
I enjoyed it because it was the first time I actually got my first Nike commercial. I've grown with Nike and I've been with them ever since I remember, ever since I was playing tennis. So it's, you know I've seen all their amazing commercials with different athletes. And over the years, I've been on their campus, and I've seen what they've done with sport and how they've just made athletes. It was just an honor for me.
They told me at the French, they had a lot of meetings after I lost at the French Open. They told me that, uhm, we're gonna do this. I was just psyched.

Q. Do you think it makes a statement about Maria Sharapova?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah. I, you know people talk, people have opinions, you know, about me it can be about me or even little girls, you know, they get bullied by boys in their school, you know, when they're pretty. It's all about self confidence. At the end of the day, in my sport, I got to go out and I got to win. That's what it's all about, you know. Just doing it.

Q. Speaking of that commercial, you start yelling your trademark shriek. Tatiana came in and talked about that. She's not sure that helps you win a point. Does it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I wouldn't know because I don't know another way, so...

Q. Do you know, are you conscious that it could bother opponents?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't worry about it.

Q. A few moments ago you said you've been getting close in majors, you've been getting deep into tournaments. Is there a little bit of frustration you haven't gotten past semifinals?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. Honestly, there is no frustration. The only frustration there is coming off a match and realizing the little things that you could have done differently and things that were in your hands in order to win that match. But it has nothing to do with getting to the final or winning another Grand Slam.
I mean, the last thing I worry about when I go on court is trying to prove anything to anyone. I don't have anything to prove.

Q. Do you feel like maybe you're due then?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: If God wants it, it will happen.

Q. You said you don't have anything to prove to anyone. What about proving some things to yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I mean, I do it 'cause, like I said, I love the challenge of it. You know, I love challenges in life, I mean, not just on the tennis court, you know. Most of the people outside, fans and people that go on to watch a match that might not even know anything about tennis, just see the challenges that you get on court, you know, the opportunities maybe you didn't take or the opportunities you took, you know the ups and downs in a match.
But there are a lot of it's not just in tennis. There are a lot of things off the court that we as athletes go through. I enjoy it, you know. I love waking up every single day and expect something, you know. If I work my butt off, I expect good things to happen. That's why I do it.

Q. Have you gotten any reactions from fans to that Nike ad?

Q. What have they said?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You mean while I'm playing or...

Q. On your website or e mails or people you see out. Have people spoken to you about that ad, what it means to them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Nike is getting a lot of reviews about it and I haven't seen them because it just debuted before The Open. But they're going to give me a lot of the quotes afterwards. But I've heard it's been pretty positive. It's sending out a strong message.

Q. Are people singing to you as you walk around?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I hope they don't (laughing).

Q. Do you sing that song to yourself when you walk around?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know what, I was dreaming of that song after we shot that commercial like there's no tomorrow. I could not I could not get it out of my head. Still sometimes I can't. Like when it goes on, I'm like, Oh, no, here we go again.
When I showed it to my friends for the first time, when we got the rough cut, they're like, We don't want to see it 'cause we're gonna see it way too much. We don't want to see it again.
But, yeah, it's definitely

Q. There are a lot of characters in the ad who sort of have that attitude. Do you get a sense that, Get lost, you're too pretty?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Can you repeat that question, sorry.

Q. There are a lot of people that have a real put upon attitude that, Oh, there goes the pretty girl.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right, right.

Q. In real life, a person with your looks, do you get that from other people at times?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not gonna hide from the fact that everybody that everybody's happy about when I win every you know, when I have my wins. I mean, there's I'm not gonna lie to you. There's definitely jealousy in our world, in our society today, not just for me, for others. But that's the things you have to go through, you know. The younger you are, probably the tougher it is to handle. But I've I honestly don't pay attention to that.
But that judge that says the pity, that's just hilarious on the commercial. I laugh all the time.

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