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July 4, 2007

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Maria Sharapova. First question, please.

Q. Was that just sort of a career day from her and not a great one from you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not a great one in the first set for me. You know, didn't really have a rhythm. I don't know if it was the wind or a slow start. She got off to a fast start. You know, I just didn't feel really comfortable in the first set.
In the third game in the second, I started feeling good. I started serving a lot better. But, you know, at the end of the day, uhm, you know, she was averaging her first serve 115 miles per hour, where my first serve, the fastest one was 115.
So I think I couldn't really give myself any chances on the return. I think that put a little extra pressure on my serve. Even though I didn't serve that bad in the second set, you know, she just was on top of it.

Q. Were you surprised how strong she was off the ground, especially on her forehand side?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, you really can't be surprised because, I mean, I know what she's capable of. I know she can produce great tennis. That's what has won her so many Grand Slams, you know, kept her at the top.
I don't think I was going into the match thinking she wasn't going to play great.

Q. With the rain, all the backlog of matches, lots of people have been saying this is the worst ever Wimbledon. Do you think that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I actually like the rain. I mean, I've been pretty positive about the rain. I mean, it comes with the territory. It comes with Wimbledon. I mean, some years are going to be better than others.
Unfortunately, this was a year where there was more rain than others. But, I mean, it's bound to happen sometime. It can only get better from this year, right?

Q. Are you very disappointed or are you telling yourself you've had struggles with the injuries this year, there's nothing you could have done except for work, work, work? Are you thinking you should have been able to bring a better level today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I guess a little bit of both. You know, I think I did a good be job of trying to find a way in the second set, trying to fight, you know, give it all I had. In the end, I just didn't have enough.
But, I mean, all I can do from this point, I'm not going to let me head hang and take months off because I lost a tennis match. I'm very capable of going out on the court and working hard, working to get better. It can only improve.
I look forward to the better days. You're only going to get there with hard work.

Q. Did the fact that she took a toilet break before the game contribute to your slow start in any way? Does it disrupt your concentration?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't even remember that happened until you said it.

Q. Will you be playing Fed Cup?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right now I don't know. I've got to do some scans here on my shoulder maybe tonight or tomorrow. I think my dad and I will be talking with Tarpishchev in the next week.

Q. Would you like to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'd love to. I just don't know what the doctors will tell me. It's going to be most importantly health-wise.

Q. Did you take a calculated gamble that perhaps the tournament might set the injury back a little while?

Q. The scans, is that something you do as a matter of course after every tournament or match? What prompted that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just a precaution, just to know that everything is okay.

Q. Have you felt any kind of acute pain in it while you've been playing or been here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: On and off, yeah, sometimes, but I've been able to play.

Q. What is it telling you? Is it gradually getting better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it is. It's gradually getting better. But right now, most importantly, when I go home, I'm just going to strengthen my upper body, and then watch out (smiling).

Q. Venus has not had a very good year to date. Is it Wimbledon? Is that why she's all of a sudden able to raise her level by 200% or so?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that's clearly a question towards her. It's hard to say. She hasn't been playing the best tennis here. I mean, before I saw some of the matches she's played.
She was not nearly as good as she was today. But against me, I mean, both of them play really good tennis.

Q. Is that possibly because when you're facing another champion and great player you automatically step on court and know you have to raise it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. I think when I step out on the court, even if it's someone that's currently ranked No. 50 in the world but has achieved many things, has experience, has won a Grand Slam, has been at the top, how can you possibly underestimate someone?
You always have to expect the best from your opponent, especially when you know what she's capable of. Vice versa probably, yeah.

Q. How would you compare how Venus played today versus the other times you played her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's interesting 'cause I probably say I played worse when I played against her in Miami. She clearly didn't play as well. Like I said in my previous press conference, it was a very sluggish match. It was very tough. I was happy to come through that one. But I don't think neither of us was playing good tennis.
I mean, she definitely stepped it up from her previous match. Although I thought I played better than I did there, it clearly was not enough.

Q. In the second set, towards the end, were you trying to fire whatever would fire and it just wasn't happening? Was that bit frustrating? Sometimes it's just not your day.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Especially on the return, you're trying to give yourself a chance, and I didn't really feel like there was an opening. It would be 15-All and she'd hit a 122 down the T. It's not frustrating.
Like I said, when her serve is on, she has one of the biggest serves, if not the biggest serve, on tour. When it's on and when it's consistent.
But, you know, like I said, you're always trying to find ways for yourself to get an opportunity. Especially on the return, I just didn't feel like I had those today.

Q. Who is the best tennis player so far in this tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do you think I've studied everyone?

Q. In terms of chances of winning.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I don't know. I think Justine has been very consistent this year. She's clearly No. 1. I guess her, but I don't know.

Q. Fed Cup, the Russian team just released the list of players and you're on it. Did you not talk to them, or did you say you would be on the team but there's an "if" involved depending on the shoulder?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I basically said after this tournament I'm gonna check with the doctors, have a group meeting, and I'm gonna make a decision.

Q. Martina Navratilova was saying on the broadcast she suspects your confidence hasn't still recovered from Australia. Is there validity to that? Does that enter your thinking, especially against the Williams sisters?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Today had nothing to do with confidence. After Australia, actually during Australia, I had a pretty serious injury. That kept me out of the game for a while.
Having said that, I don't think anything has to do with confidence. I'm 20 years old. I've won two Grand Slams. I've been No. 1 in the world. I've got plenty more years to either win matches or find confidence.
At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. It's about going out there and giving yourself the best chance you can. Sometimes it just doesn't work - like today.
Yeah, it doesn't really matter, confidence, no confidence. I should be proud of what I achieved. There's no reason for me to go out on court and think I don't have any confidence because I clearly know what I'm capable of.

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