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August 30, 2007

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you ever get to the bottom of why they posted a 129 mile an hour serve?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. It was definitely a mistake, because, one, I've never hit a 129 in my life, let alone a second serve, and, two, it definitely didn't feel like a 129. So definitely wishful thinking.

Q. How did you feel about overall?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I felt pretty well. Apart from one game where in six first serves I only made one of them. Apart from that I thought I did a pretty good job of holding my ground and doing the right things and figuring out her game and what I needed to do pretty quickly.
So that was a good thing.

Q. Is it tough to get a handle on things when you're beating players by such a big margin?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I'm just trying to play solid from the first point until the end. I don't want to give my opponents any chances, and I got to take mine. Just got to do my job and get off the court.

Q. You looked particularly focused tonight. Was that just my take on it or was it special tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's always special playing night matches. I always feel like I have to be, I don't know, extra focused and play better than I usually do. The night matches are always a little bit of a bigger motivation factor, especially here.
You know, you're treated as entertainers and you go on court and you feel like you have to perform well, so you just want to do a good job of that. I don't think it was any better or worse than the other nights.

Q. Casey was overwhelmed. She said, "If she plays anywhere near like this, she's winning it." That's her take on it.

Q. Do you feel like you're playing your best tennis of the tournament or do you feel like you still have more to gain?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, with every match it's going to get tougher, and I'm sure with the upcoming matches I'm going to have challenges which I'm going to have to go through.
This summer I definitely feel like I'm playing better tennis, and one of biggest factors is I feel healthy and I'm not thinking about preventing something or making something worse or not. I feel like I'm playing freely and I know what I'm capable of doing on the court.
When you don't feel 100%, it's pretty tough to do that because you feel limited to your game. It's kind of refreshing to go out there and just be thinking of what you need to do to win the match.

Q. Is there a different feeling defending a title at a Grand Slam like this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there definitely is. Because from my point of view, I just know how great it felt to win here. You just want to have that same feeling again and repeat it. In the sport of tennis there's only one champion, and it's a pretty good feeling coming off a tournament and being that champion.
So you work, the preparation that you put in, from the off-season to the weeks before this Grand Slam, you hope that it all comes together for you.

Q. What can you say about the girl you are playing next round?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's Radwanska, right?

Q. Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Last time I played her was in Turkey and we had a pretty tough match. That was on clay and that was my first tournament back. So, you know, I mean, she's a young girls and I don't think she's going to have much to lose when she goes out on court to play me again.
I know her game a little bit. We practiced a couple times. I played her once. But this is a different match, a different tournament, and I can't worry about the past. Just got figure it out when I go there.

Q. Any particular approach you're going to take considering her playing style?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not any that I'm going to talk about.

Q. Do you think you need a tougher game to hit your peak? You've had two very comfortable wins so far.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, I'm sure with every match it's only going to get tougher. My job out here is to be professional about what I do, respect each opponent, and go into each match thinking that it's going to be the toughest match of my life.
If it's the easiest match in my life I'll take it from there. But I can't go into a match thinking it's going to be easy or that I'm playing well, because every day is a new day and every tennis match can be different.

Q. You're one of ten women from Russia into the third round. I realize you lived in the U.S. for a long time, but do you feel like a part of that wave?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. It's incredible to see the growth of Russian tennis throughout the years. In '04 it was kind of I won Wimbledon and then Myskina won the French Open before me.
From that point on, the clubs were filling, you know, the money was put into young prodigies. And now tennis -- it used to be when I was growing up it was gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics. I always wanted to be a rhythmic gymnast. I grew a little too fast for that. And hockey, and now it's basically all tennis.

Q. Which kind of hockey, ice hockey?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uh-huh, yeah. Especially in the northern part.

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