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May 15, 2008

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/C. Wozniacki
6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There are so many ways to find out the form. This is one of the ways, just to start a little bit slowly and then to find out, or you have some problems with your forehand or something?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I actually started good. Just in the middle of the match I had a little letdown. Actually not a little, quite big. You know, kind of a similar story to yesterday. I was just lucky to win that second set.
But taking away what she was doing on her side of net, from my point of view I thought there were just a lot of physical roller coaster rides. I'd put two or three good points together and then the level sort of dropped. But it's all right.
You know, good thing is I got a win and, you know, I can play another match tomorrow.

Q. (From Italian) You're a public figure and everybody loves you. You have lots of fans. Your public wants to know if in your life you have room for your private life as well, perhaps a boyfriend, or whether you usually prefer to keep this a secret and private?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Even though I have a tough life and I travel around the world, when I'm home I try to -- when I get home everything changes and my life becomes very homely. I love to be around the house and I love to be around close people in my family, especially my mom that I barely see. And my friends as well.
It's very difficult. You know, it's one of the things that you sometimes miss when you're on the road for seven to eight weeks in a row. But those are some the sacrifices you make as a professional tennis player, and that's just part of the game, I guess.
But I'll have a lot of time to enjoy when I'm retired, so...

Q. When you play someone like Wozniacki, can you remember when you were 17 and which sort of feeling do you have? I don't think you can feel old, but in some way do you feel old?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do I? Well, when I play against girls that are younger than I am, because usually, you know, a little while ago - seems like it was yesterday - I was the young one.
Now 50% of the girls I play against are already younger than I am. You know, it's actually great to see a newer generation that are coming up and, I guess, making tennis exciting. They're challenging the top players and trying to find their own ways and paths to the top.
Obviously everybody has different directions and different games. You know she's a good young player, and, you know, it's always tough coming into a match where, you know, your opponent has not much to lose.
You know, they want that experience, and they're going to go out there and, you know, going to try to play their best tennis. Because if they lose, they don't feel like they lost much because they weren't expected to win, so...

Q. Looking ahead to the French Open, what do you expect from the Williams sisters? I always find that a little tough to judge where they're at. What are your thoughts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you can never underestimate them. They're obviously great champions and big fighters, and they have all the experience in the world. No matter how many matches they have played or not, in the bigger stages of the tournament they've got this experience.
You know, that's what makes them good, is the majority of the time they find ways to win. You obviously can never underestimate them as opponents.

Q. Bye-bye No. 1 in the world now. If you have to pick just one opponent, do you pick Serena an Ivanovic? One opponent of yours, like No. 1 in the world you are today. So is it Serena or someone else, like first opponent? The best opponent of you. Do you think it's Serena or Ivanovic?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, every opponent's game is different, and on any given day it's a different situation and a different match. No matter -- we can play today and then we're going to play tomorrow and the result can be completely different.
You know, there is such a thin line in tennis, especially between wining and losing. Sometimes you go into a match and you're playing your best tennis and you end up losing the match against somebody like Serena or another opponent.
Sometimes you go into the match not playing your best tennis and you win and you leave the court and ask yourself questions like, How does that happen sometimes?
But that's what makes this game good. That's what makes it exciting: It's individual and one-on-one. Every day is different.

Q. (From Italian) You always play seems like with extraordinary intensity, and it's very exciting to watch you. Were you always so involved since you were a child, or was there a moment in your career, perhaps when you were training in Bradenton, in Florida, where you said, From today I'm going to be more aggressive and more emotionally involved?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I've just always loved competition. I loved competing and I loved -- to be honest, I hated practice. I never, you know, I couldn't stand hitting ball after ball after ball. I thought it was really boring.
Only when I was, I don't know, about 12 or 13 I realized that practice is very important and it's going to make me better.
But ever since I was young I was just -- I always loved playing against kids and I always wanted to compete. If we practiced for 30 minutes, I was sick and tired of that I wanted to play points. So it was just always in me, and to still is.
I'm a big competitor, no matter how good or bad I'm feeling. Nom matter how good or bad I'm playing out there, I'm not going to give up until the last point.
That's won me many matches in my career, and I think it's going to win me many more. It's a good quality to have, and it's also quite tough, because I can be quite tough on my own self when I'm out there.
In a way, I'm a perfectionist and I want try to achieve everything perfect and I want it to go my way. I also have to be quite realistic about knowing that not everything is going to land in and it's not always going to go your way.

Q. Which is your favorite color, because we see you in so many -- you change so much. Do you have a favorite color, or no?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: When I was young it used to be pink. But just like any other girl it was pink, right? Every girl loves pink. I've grown out of that stage.
I like orange very much because it's a very happy color, and yellow. I like happy colors.

Q. It reflects your personality in some way?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I'm a pretty outgoing person and I try not to take life too seriously. Yeah, it's just a fun -- I smile when I see the color. I like bright colors and fun-attitude colors.

Q. With Justine's retirement, how wide open is the field for Roland Garros this year? How many players have a legitimate shot at winning the title?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think even if Justine was in in the draw I think a lot of players still have a shot at the title. This year has been pretty different result-wise, you know, unlike last year.
I think Justine was the one dominating throughout most the year, especially in the later stages of the year. This year it's been a couple of players, including myself.
It's a Grand Slam stage. I think everybody has a chance. You know, I know I probably sound like a broken record player, but it all comes down to whoever takes chances. Hopefully that will be me.

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