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March 24, 2007

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Wind make it a little tricky out there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, the conditions here are very expected. You know, year in year out doesn't really change much. Swirls around court.
So just have to really adjust, especially in your first match, getting used to the conditions. You know, it's not easy, but mentally I'm ready for it.

Q. How did you feel you played?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, it was a little bit up and down. I felt like I was in control. I was happy that I could -- with the breakpoint she had, I was able to come up with a good defensive play. She had me on the run on some of those breakpoints and I was able to come up with good shots.
But, yeah, overall, you know, it's the first match. It's never completely there. But, you know, I'm sure I'll get better.

Q. How do you feel like you're playing right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I almost answered the same.

Q. Not this match, but just this year so far.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In general? Well, it's strange. I almost lost in the Australian Open, and I ended up going to the final. Playing really well against Kim in the semi and losing easy in the final.
And after that, I got injured. So it's kind of a strange beginning of the year, you can say, yeah.

Q. How about the next round? Can you talk about each one?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I've played Maria and Venus a few times. I haven't played either of them lately. But, you know, either way it's going to be pretty tough. It's never easy playing a good friend, and Venus also has a lot of experience behind her back also.
You have to expect good things against her when you go on the court. So either way it's not going to be easy.

Q. How about tactically those two players? Is it good for you playing the two of them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think probably Venus has a little bit more power and goes for her shots a little bit more. You know, it's hard to say when the wind is also going to play a big factor in it. You can't quite go for big shots when it's like that. But we'll see.

Q. Do you remember the last time you played Venus?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Was it Wimbledon?

Q. Right.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I don't want to remember.

Q. Does it seem like a million years ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It does, actually. Yes, it does.

Q. I have read about Fed Cup, that you will participate this year in Fed Cup.

Q. Is it true?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely.

Q. So will you play against Spain, the first match?

Q. Could you talk about this decision?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The decision?

Q. That you play the Fed Cup.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I said it many times in the years before. I was never physically ready to add, you know, another three weeks to my schedule. I never thought that I could do it, come out of a tournament, and, you know, go to Fed Cup and play those matches.
I always wanted to be ready. And last year was my decision, and I thought that I was ready to play. I'm very excited about it.

Q. Sony Ericsson wanted to call this the Glam Slam. You seem to be the poster girl for that. What is your opinion about all of that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think they've done a great job with the event. I think they've made -- they've added another dimension to the fans. They've gotten to walk around the site a little bit before, without any crowd or anything.
So it's good to see, I think anything that can help the crowd and make it more entertaining. I think that's what our sport needs is entertainment. Because after all, that's what we are.

Q. Serena and Vaidisova are also in your quarter. What was your reaction when you saw the draw?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, it's one of those things if you want to win a big tournament like this, you've got to play against good players, and you've got to beat them if you want to win.
So, I mean, like I said, it's only going to be tougher from here, and you've got to be ready to play against the best.

Q. WTA has progressed with the on-court coaching this season. What do you think about it? Has it benefited you or hurt your opponents in particular matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think it's benefited or hurt me. It's one of those things where it's there, and if you feel like you want to use it, you do. But if it wasn't, I wouldn't really care. Yeah, I don't really care about it. Yeah.

Q. How was the player party this year? We heard it was quite fun.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, it was fun. They did a really good job. You know, Sony Ericsson definitely stepped it up from last year, yeah. The music was good, I approve.

Q. May I ask some questions in Russian?
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions in English?

Q. Just one more question. The new Vogue just came out. It's kind of been pretty good for you for the magazine. Have you received any compliments for that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just from my friends. I think it just came out on newsstands a couple of days ago. But I got an early copy a week ago, and I showed it around to my friends. And it's definitely an amazing honor to be in a big magazine like that.
So, yeah, it was a cool, new experience. I love fashion very much, so to be in the mecca of fashion magazine, it is definitely very inspiring.

Q. When was that shoot?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it was right after Tokyo. I think, yeah. The deadline was supposed to be like weeks before that and Anna managed to get me in somehow, so thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.

End of FastScripts
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