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June 24, 2008

Maria Sharapova


6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Maria Sharapova. We'll take the first question, please.

Q. One down, six more to go?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You could look at it that way, yeah.

Q. Feel comfortable out there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was definitely a good start, considering I didn't have a warmup tournament like I usually do. My main goal is just to go out there, get a feel for it as fast as I could and get the job done.

Q. Quite an eye-catching outfit.

Q. I'm wondering, how much do you test drive an outfit before you approve it? Is it comfortable to play in? How much did you test it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do. I usually wear-test it in one practice. But I usually do that like seven months before because, you know, the process takes quite a long time. I mean, I already know what I'm wearing, you know, in the fall 2009.
So, you know, yeah, it's pretty far in advance because stuff has to go to retail and all that stuff.

Q. What inspired the white tuxedo look?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I love menswear in general. You know, I love tuxedo jackets. I love things that are actually a little bit baggier and wide. I loved when that whole wide-legged pant trend kind of set in, because I love that. I'm tall and I can pull those things off.
So it was fun doing it because, you know, it's hard to do things different with white. You know, there's only so much you could do. I thought, why not do shorts this year? I've never done it at a Grand Slam. You know, if there's one place to do it, it's here.

Q. What will you wear next year then, if you already know?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, goodness (laughter). I still haven't finished the tournament. We've got a lot in store.

Q. With all due respect, that top takes a certain type of body to pull that off. Do you really expect that to be a big seller off the rack?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. A lot of the stuff I wear is actually promo only. Like the jacket's not in stores because the materials are usually brought in from Italy and France a lot of the time.
Uhm, and, I don't know actually. I hope it does. It's a beautiful top. It's so well-done. To be able to perform in that, with it being so thin, so mobile, it's really cool.

Q. What did you think of Serena's raincoat and Roger's cardigan?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't see it. I did see Federer's cardigan. I thought that was classic. It was beautiful.

Q. You spoke in New York with the black dress of your love of Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Talk about tuxedos.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I love how 10 of the questions are about what we're wearing. It's amazing.

Q. Did you expect anything else?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don't (laughter). Every time I get asked about it, it still amazes me.

Q. That's the point.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: As long as I'm amazed and not bored, you're doing a good job (laughter).
I don't know why. Like I said, I think it's very flattering, especially on women, to be able to pull off a look that's basically menswear. You know, from very tailored jackets to things that are a little bit oversized, as well.
I didn't wear my pants on court today, but they're very wide-legged and high-waisted. I love that trend. It's very classic. You can't go wrong with it.
Like I said, if there's a place to do it, it's definitely Wimbledon.

Q. Not to bore you with a tennis question.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You always do that (smiling).

Q. In Australia you started playing well early, got off to a fast start, played great all the way through. In France, you kind of tried to work your way through. It's clay. Didn't work as well. Today you're playing well. Did you feel like coming in that's important for you to start playing well early, get a feel for the ball, maybe your game will come?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've had different experiences in Grand Slams. You know, sometimes I feel like I start off slow and I find my rhythm throughout the tournament. I get better and better.
In France, even though I lost in the fourth round, I really feel like my level had stepped up from my three rounds. You know, like I said, I was so close to winning the match, and then you end up talking about losing the match. Very thin line between winning and losing.
Obviously it's very important to start off the tournament on a good form. I knew my opponent has already played a couple of matches. Going on to Court 1 today, I knew the court would be a little bit different as the practice courts. It's not as worn out, as well.
Just wanted to get a feel for it as fast as I could and do the right things and win the match as quickly as I could.

Q. Do you think all the attention to the fashion, is it more the players that happen to be at the top now, that you're all sort of fashion conscious and savvy, or is it more marketing by the tour? It's really relatively new that we talk so much about what the people are wearing, especially the women.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think it's that new. It's been around for a few years.

Q. I'm saying in the last few years, though.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Okay, that's new?
I think it's great. I mean, look, tennis is not a sport where you have to wear uniforms. It's an individual sport. If you have the relationships with the brands, and I've been with Nike since I was very young and we've gained the trust in each other, you know, where we can go into a room and I can have a voice in what I like, what I don't like, my inspirations, what I feel like wearing, the colors I feel like wearing. It's a collaboration. It really is. If you can do that, why not?
I've loved fashion since I was very young. I've loved creating things. I love materials. I loved working with thread and needles, making things on my own. Having Nike behind that, to be able to produce things like what I wore on court today, is incredible.

Q. Could you sew one yourself, do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely not (smiling).

Q. What do you think of Nike? They really are a little bit of a risk-taker. They work with Federer, Serena. Have you been to their campus in Oregon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have. A few times.

Q. What are your thoughts about their people and their approach in the market?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What I love about them is they really think out of the box. They're not one-dimensional. You know, they love experimenting. They love listening to what you feel comfortable with, what's going to work for you. They care about the athlete. That's so important, because they want you to go out and feel comfortable with what you're wearing.
I think, you know, we also have to realize that in this world tennis is sort of small compared to soccer and compared to American football in the States. So, uhm, you know, they realize, you know, maybe not as many tennis dresses are going to be sold, but if we can create things that are exciting, that are very well-made...
Like I said, they go into factories in little towns in Italy and they try to find the best material, the best buttons and everything in order to create this one look.
It's great working with a company like that, that is able to -- you know, that is able to put things on the line and is not afraid of taking chances.

Q. On the flipside, have they ever brought in a concept where you shook your head?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, numerous times, tons of times. We had a meeting a couple months ago. Yeah, there are a lot of times where you don't agree on things, but that's the fun thing of it. It's about creating something special that both of you like.

Q. Are you going to carry the flag for Russia at the opening ceremony?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think so, no.

Q. Speaking of Russia, you were talking about the football team on Saturday. They're through to the semifinals. How does that motivate you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It motivates me on a different level. I'm so proud they got through that. You know, it was kind of nerve-wracking when it was tied five minutes left into the game. We really thought we had it.
You know, we're brave. We're strong. We work hard at what we do. Good things happen.

Q. Are Russians prouder now than a few years ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Prouder? We've always been proud. That's one thing we don't lack.

End of FastScripts

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