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March 13, 2007

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Question, for Maria, please.

Q. Boy, Maria, the wheels really came off there after 5-3.

Q. What happened?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know, it's strange. You know, even in the first two sets I didn't -- I didn't feel like I was playing, you know, amazing tennis. But I did the things that I needed to do, you know. I came up with the good shots, you know, especially on her serves when I needed to. And, you know, in serving for the match, I -- the only unforced error I really made was that swing volley.
And after that I just deflated a little bit, you know. I wasn't moving, moving well at all. You know, I missed a lot of first balls. They got returned. And I missed the first ball, and I serve, miss the first ball. That obviously gives your opponent so much confidence. She just started swinging and wasn't making a lot of errors.

Q. Looked like you weren't even sure at times what you should be doing, slap charging, coming in on points, you wouldn't come in on. Was it just kind of confusing as to what was happening?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not really. I mean, I just -- you know, I was trying -- just trying to come in a little bit, maybe put some pressure on her, 'cause I felt like she started swinging a little bit more and her balls were getting deeper and deeper as the match went on. And I wasn't sure if that was because my ball was not heavy enough or because I needed to try something different or give her different looks, but...

Q. How would you rate your tennis this entire tournament so far, I mean up to this point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Still felt pretty rusty. It's hard coming to an event, you know, when you haven't played a lot and you try to -- you try to -- you try to improve with every match. But, you know, sometimes you run into someone who's a great competitor, who's had a lot of experience, who plays, you know, many tournaments a year. You know, you've got to be ready. You've got to take your chances when you have them. When you don't, they're able -- I mean, you can't underestimate her. I mean, she's also had a, you know, pretty decent past.

Q. What was the problem with your serve today? You seemed to have a lot of trouble a foot.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there was a lot of wrong things going on today. That was just one of them - especially in the third set. But like I said, it was more of a snowball effect than anything else.

Q. Maria, is it still the hamstring or is it just rusty and you don't have rhythm on the serve?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, like I said, it's just -- the more I'm gonna play, you know, the easier it's gonna get for me.

Q. There is somebody who occasionally has suffered with nerves and with pressure of situations when she's trying to play a big play. She had the coach out there a number of times today. Do you think that that would have helped her? Did you notice any difference in her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I try not to worry about what my opponent is doing or how she's handling her nerves or not. And it's tough to focus on someone else when you've got so much, you know -- you've got so much to focus on yourself, yeah.

Q. What's your general opinion of having coaches on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I don't -- I've never -- I've never personally liked it. I don't think it's gonna make that big of a difference. You know, I don't know if -- I think it's more for TV purposes and, you know, than to add something to the game, but I don't necessarily think it's gonna make a difference to the players.

Q. Yet you had Michael on there today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, it's there, you know, use it.

Q. You just beat her in Australia; you played a lot of tough sets with her. Couldn't you just put the second set aside and say, "Okay. Hiccup there. Now I'm just going to dig back in and play her the way I usually play her"?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was just one of those days where it didn't happen, you know. You know, you're gonna have to -- I'm gonna have to look past that and, you know, think of -- what's gonna make me better for, you know, future, what's gonna make me better, how I'm gonna win grand slams rather than how I'm going to beat her today, yeah, or what I could have done differently to beat her today. I look at the future, yeah.

Q. How upset are you to lose your No. 1 spot next week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Doesn't mean too much.

Q. Do you shake it off or does that take until tomorrow? Today is kind of an angry disappointed day, then you just really --
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not really angry. You know, I'm pretty cool about it. I mean, it happens in my sport, and all I've got to do is just -- it's not like I've been slacking off the last few weeks. I mean, I've still been working hard and I'm gonna continue that, and, you know, you're not always gonna be rewarded for the work that you do, you know.
Players, different players are always gonna have their different shining moments, you know. And, I mean, it's unrealistic to always -- to always do well and always have great days. So, yeah, you've just got to keep working.

Q. Were you surprised that Roger lost?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Who wasn't? I mean, yeah.

Q. Were you 100 percent physically?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I was close, yeah.

Q. Close enough?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I mean, I played, so, yeah.

Q. Are you sick at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not giving any excuses. There's no need for that.

Q. You seem to have a lot of distractions this week. Do you suppose having the Maria Sharapova look-a-likes around was a distraction?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, Jerry, God, the questions you ask me. I mean, that had nothing do with today's match. I had a lot of sweaty dudes up there and I seemed to win that okay, during the other match. And I didn't have anyone today, so maybe that's why I lost. Gotta hire them next time (laughter). Can you lend me a loan?

Q. Do you feel any extra pressure as a top seed going into a tournament or is it?

Q. You know it's kind of old?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've been top seed at tournaments before.

Q. Does it make it more disappointing when you --

Q. -- don't make it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A loss is a loss. A loss is always disappointing. I don't care what anyone says, it's always disappointing, because we're athletes and we work to win. You know, but it's the way you -- it's the way you treat a loss. It's the way you go on about it, and, you know, you just have to be professional about it.

Q. How close was this court speed to your optimal preferred surface?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The court speed is pretty normal. It's not too fast, not slow. But the air, the ball goes through the air pretty fast. There's a little bit of altitude, especially in the heat, the ball goes pretty fast, yeah.

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