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June 30, 2007

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Maria Sharapova. First question, please.

Q. Glad to get it finished?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. It's always good. You know, especially when you're up a set, it's close to being done, and it starts drizzling.
You know, then if it just starts raining, I heard the weather is not supposed to be good for the rest of the day, so it was really good to finish that.

Q. Did you sense your opponent was getting a bit agitated, that she wanted to go off?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was starting to get agitated. I saw the rain in the middle of the second set. I knew if it keeps going, obviously the grass is going to get wet. I didn't want it to be too dangerous to play out there.
But it worked out well in the end.

Q. Was it slippery?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I didn't really feel that it was too slippery.

Q. You looked so unhappy today, fiercely unhappy.

Q. Like this is the last place you wanted to be.

Q. I know that's not true, but that's the way you looked.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Really? Okay, well, I'll try to put on a happier face next time, just for you.

Q. Possibly the best thing for you today was you only had to hit nine second serves.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, my serve worked really well today. I had a great percentage of first serves. The average speed was higher than it's been in the last few months, which is great. It's definitely something that will help me going on from here.

Q. Just felt the rhythm today on the serve?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't really know the stats until I came off the court. I felt like I was hitting it well, hitting the spots good, serving smart at the right times, but I didn't really know that I had such a good percentage until I came off.
Once you're in the match, you just try to focus on doing the right things. But when you come off, you see it on paper, it's a bigger satisfaction.

Q. What was going through your mind the very last game, when rain was getting heavier?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it was 40-Love when I got the call on the far line. The guy called it out. The umpire overruled it. I had a pretty easy sitter. No, I think that was 40-15. I hit a double at 40-Love.
The match could have been over. It's just a weird situation because you know the rain is coming. It's the third call that the guy, you know, got wrong. You look at him and he's wearing sunglasses. He loses all credibility at that point.
You're just thinking you might be a match point up and you have to go and wait to finish the match. It's a little bit of a tense moment. That's why I was quite pleased to finish it.

Q. Have you seen Swan Lake?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Probably when I was eight, yeah, in Florida. But I don't think it's as good as probably if I see it now somewhere in Russia.

Q. Venus is a long way from winning her match, but if she does, after that match two years ago here, did you think you should have used different tactics against her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I felt like at that stage in my career I wasn't really ready. She played really good tennis. I didn't think that I was capable of playing the same tennis for two or three sets. You know, I kept it up. I was down in the first, then I got back. My level really dropped.
That's something that I've improved. If I play her, we always have really, really tough matches and you can never underestimate her as an opponent, even though she hasn't had the best year.
So, yeah, either way it will be tough.

Q. Was that match a wake-up call for you about where you were physically?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not so much a wake-up call. I've always known there was so much room for improvement physically for me. Not physically, as well, but also the intensity level of putting two games together, breaking her, but keeping that intensity after you break your opponent, being smart about things.
Sometimes I felt like I was going for a little too much when I didn't have to.

Q. You said that match, when you look back, you couldn't keep up your intensity.

Q. Do you look back at that as being a point where you recognized it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I always knew. It was just clearer than other matches. Against someone like her, you don't get away with it as much.

Q. What did you learn from playing her in Miami this year? Anything new?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That was a tough time, you know, tough month because my shoulder wasn't right. That was a very scratchy match I think from both of us. I think I served terrible. I played terrible.
I didn't feel like a lot of things were working for me at that period of time. So it's kind of history. I think this is a new...

Q. If you would have been in your opponent's position today, would you have been upset the match wasn't called off?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was her decision, you know. I try not to step in anyone's shoes because I'm usually not their size (smiling).

Q. That's not answering the question. If you would have been her...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, she didn't stop, and the court wasn't that wet. The umpire went down on the court and said we should continue, so...

Q. How would you sum up your first week at Wimbledon this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, pretty solid. You know, I've been doing the right things when I need to do them. I think I've been serving a lot better and, uhm, you know, I think I've been playing better and better with each match, which is a positive.
You know, I don't want any setbacks. Still improving. You know, feeling good. With all the tough conditions, the heavy balls, you know, physically I feel good.
It's been pretty positive.

Q. Was your forehand as reliable as you would have liked today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't really know.

Q. Can you describe the treatment that you do with your shoulder between matches.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Ice, massage, strength, needle work. You name it, I do it really.

Q. How long does all that take?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A couple hours a day. Two and a half hours a day.

Q. Because it's Venus and she's a three-time champion here, is the intensity level different even though it's a fourth-round match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, look, it's a Grand Slam. Every match that you're going to play, you try to bring up the intensity with every match. You know it's only going to get tougher.
Like I said, you can never really underestimate her as an opponent. She's a champion. She's achieved many things, won many Grand Slams. You know that when you go out against her, you always have to be at your best.
Any opponent you play, you want to be at your best and you want to improve things and play good tennis. But, uhm, of course it's going to be a tough one. I mean, her match is not over, so we'll see.

Q. When you say "needle work," is that acupuncture?

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