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May 17, 2008

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Everyone, obviously Maria is here and she cannot play her semifinal match this afternoon. She has a left calf strain. I'll turn it over to Maria to explain how that came about, and then we'll take some questions.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, yesterday, I think it was in the beginning of the second set, I started to feel my calf a little bit on one movement, and, you know, I felt it throughout that second set.
In the third set it got better. Last night consisted of about two and a half to three hours of treatment. You know, to be honest, I thought I was -- you know, it felt good last night, but I woke up this morning and it's really, really sore.
I took a little jog and it didn't go too well. So, you know, it's obviously very unfortunate. As an athlete you go to every tournament and you hope to be one 100%. It was a really quick turnaround to be able to go out on court within 12 hours and have to be ready for another tough match.
You know, I think it was it was smart and the best decision at this point, especially with a big tournament coming up.
I'm sorry to all my fans and the people that came here to watch me play, and I hope to make it up to them soon.

Q. We're sorry too, Maria. Have you been given anywhere prediction or prognosis on when this will be ready? Does it endanger the French?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think so. You know, they just said it's a strain, and they think I need maybe three days off, two or three days off, before I can really test it out again.
Yeah, that's kind of the diagnosis I was given.

Q. Rome comes out of two semifinals which were not played in the men's tournament, and now one semifinal in the women's tournament. One quarters last week in the men's, one quarters yesterday. Do you think this is just a coincidence? And do you think that the fact that there is Roland Garros so close to Rome it pushes a little bit the players to retire as soon as they're not 100%?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's is really big event for both the women and the men. You know, everybody plays. The competition is tough, so from the first round on you have to be ready to play. It's five matches if you get to the final. It's five days in a row.
You know, for some people, like me, I had two night matches, two late nights. Like I said, it's a pretty short turnaround to be able to, you know, compete. In part it's my own fault for making some of the matches longer than they should be.
But in another, the most important thing is recovery and also to be ready for the French, which is obviously the goal for every player.
But like I said, this is also a big event for us. It's a Tier 1, and you want to have all the matches and you want to play against top players. That's the goal coming into this tournament.
Is it a coincidence? I don't know. Yeah.

Q. (From Italian) Your answer to the previous question might show that you had no time last night to prepare your match for today. Also, considering that you underwent treatment for three hours you perhaps only went to bed at three a.m.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: 3:30. No, actually it was 3:24. I looked at the watch when I went to sleep because I knew you guys would ask me that question.

Q. (From Italian) Is it true, to answer the first part of your question, you had no time to prepare for today's match in that respect?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I've played a lot of matches where I've had to go to sleep that early in the morning and I've had to do the same amount of treatment, and the next day I'm fine. It's just the way things played out here.
You know, obviously if I did have a longer time, if I did play my match in the afternoon and finish earlier, or maybe even finished my match quicker, I wouldn't have to deal with the same issues and deal with a longer treatment period and deal with less sleep.
Yeah, all those things can combine and create a big deal, but it's not -- I've been in these situations many times in my career. In the Championships we always have late matches and, you know, late matches at the US Open as well. I've had the experience of it.
This one turned out a little bit differently.

Q. Were you tempted to go on court and give it a go and then quit and say, I can't go on? Do you feel you might have owed that to the fans out here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Owed them to go out on the court and play a game?

Q. Well, to see how to you went?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, when I stepped on my left foot today I knew there was no chance I was going to be able to go on court.

Q. Do you think the night matches here start too late? Is there any other tournament where they start at 8:45?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think some matches in Madrid last year started pretty late. I think it's as bad -- as about as late as you're going to get. But, you know, I think if you're from this part of the world you eat late and do things late. That's just the way it is.
You sign up for the tournament and you got to go with what it comes with.

Q. Maybe players are not much concerned about this, but do you think the promoter should be helped, to get some kind of reimbursement when something like that happens like it happened in Rome? Or even if it's not your problem but it's WTA and the organization of tennis in general, do you think they should get something back, or no?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm an athlete, and my job is to remain an athlete. There are a lot of other people in the community and in the sport and the sports world to deal with that stuff. Yeah.

Q. So you went to bed at 3:24. You didn't tell us at what time you woke up?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't sleep much. I don't know, I didn't look at the watch when I woke up. I wasn't thinking about you when I woke up. I'm sorry.
I don't know. Some time early in the morning.

Q. (From Italian) If you had had this same injury during Roland Garros, would you have retired there as well?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, last year I played -- I basically played without a shoulder and I got to the semifinals. So, I mean, in a Grand Slam stage you're going to do whatever it takes. If it's taking a few extra painkillers or, I don't know what other options there are, then definitely.
But a week before the Slam to kind of take your body to that phase, it's quite difficult.

Q. The Williams sisters are staying in Rome even if they lost. I'd like to know what is your plan for the next days. Are you going to go here or go somewhere else, an event, anywhere to practice?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I'm going to Paris in a couple of hours. I'm going to get some treatment over there and try to be ready as soon as possible.
You know, obviously rest is the most important thing right now, and treatment. Just it's a day-by-day thing. I hope in two days I'll be able to be on court and be normal.

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