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June 26, 2008

Maria Sharapova


6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Maria Sharapova. Take the first question.

Q. Have you got any explanation for what went on out there today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I guess it wasn't my day. She just did everything better than I did. You know, she played much better. She hit the ball harder. She, uhm, you know, served and returned better.
On grass, you know those are two important elements. You know, once you don't have a lot on the ball then your opponent can take advantage of that. Obviously she had nothing to lose. She went for her shots. I was just pretty tentative.

Q. Is there any part of your game today you were happy with?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I can't be really happy about anything today.

Q. Why were you tentative?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not sure. Very good question. A question I'll be asking myself later today.

Q. You suggested the other day that taking the time off between would be better, would be beneficial to you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Hey, now I have more time off. Better be careful what I wish for.

Q. It seemed serving-wise you were a bit tentative. Going down the middle some. Didn't seem like backhand-wise you were feeling the stroke very well, just missing a couple inches on the cross-court.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think I just got to look at the tape of it to really see what went on, 'cause it just went a little too fast to analyze it right now.
But from my first thoughts when I went off court, I just thought that, you know, I wasn't playing my game. I was letting her take control of the majority of the points, yeah.

Q. With the time you took off after the French, did you see this coming at all? Did you have an inkling you might have a performance like this in you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You never know what you're going to have in you. I thought I played a really solid first round, felt pretty comfortable.
But, like I said, you just never know what's going to happen on a given day. You might go out there, not feel great, or your game's not quite there. Your opponent can take advantage of that, especially somebody that is playing a top player that has not much to lose. Sometimes those opponents are the most dangerous ones.

Q. Would you rate this defeat, given the fact it's at Wimbledon, as the most disappointing in recent years for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Losses are all disappointing, obviously. I try to sort of find a way to get back in the match, to sort of dig anywhere I could. But, you know, like I said, a loss is a loss. There's only one winner in the tournament and everybody else is disappointed, so I'm one of them.

Q. Are you fully fit?

Q. The talk about what you were wearing, the fashion, did that play a distraction for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's not the first time we've talked about what I was wearing. I've won plenty of tournaments with a lot of talk going on.

Q. Did you know much about her before? Had you seen her play? I know she played Venus tight last year in the first round.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Did she? I practiced with her a little bit at Fed Cup last year. I think I played her a couple of years ago on clay, and I won that match. You know, that was a couple of years ago and on a different surface, so...

Q. Will you reconsider your grass court preparation now for next season?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think it really had anything to do with it. Just wasn't my day.

Q. Will you head straight home now, or will you have a few days in London?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. It's been 25 minutes since my match. I haven't really thought about it.

Q. Grass is one of the surfaces, if you're not playing that well, where things can go almost too quickly.

Q. Especially it looked like on the court around the center stripes. The balls were just bouncing all over the place, on the lines, huh?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I guess so. Some days they don't bounce where you want them to bounce or they don't land where you want them to land.

Q. What are your thoughts about replay at this point?

Q. There was a key overrule there at the end, eighth game, was it, in the second set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think it had anything to do with the match.

Q. Did you think at that point maybe you were going to get a foothold and turn it around?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What point are you talking about?

Q. Where the replay kept the game going.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was deuce. I think I won that game though, right?

Q. You wound up winning the game.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's one game I didn't lose.

Q. Pro players have so many hassles in their career, all the travel and the injuries, moments like this. What's the toughest part of being a pro tennis player? Is it losses like this or something else?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, look, over my career, even though it's been pretty young, I still have many years ahead of me. I've had to deal with a lot of ups and a lot of downs on and off the court, and I have the experience behind me.
But I think the number one thing is not be discouraged by that, not be discouraged by losses or by negative things, things here and there.
You have to find a way to keep your head up even though it's pretty tough, because you put the effort in and you work hard and you dedicate yourself every single day to be a better player and a better professional.
Sometimes, you know, the work doesn't pay off till you never know when. I don't know when that work's gonna pay off.
I had a great off-season, came into Australia, and played really great tennis. Match in, match out, I felt great, was playing better and better. Things just worked out. Sometimes, you know, I've had experiences where I've done the same thing.
I've come into a tournament and results don't just come. It's not just for me. It's for everybody. Everybody goes through it. Everybody, you know, has those moments.
But, you know, I'm experienced enough to know that life goes on and that there are a lot worse things in life that can happen than losing a tennis match, even if it's at Wimbledon and even if it means a lot to me. There are a lot worse things.
I still have the desire, even 30 minutes after the match, to go back on court and to get better, 'cause that's the only thing that's gonna get me to hold that plate again.

Q. You seem a little bit bemused now. Underneath that are you hurting? You must be hurting.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What do you think? I know you're not hurting for me, but...
I mean, look, a loss is a loss. It's part of my job. It's part of my job to lose and talk about it, you know.

Q. Ivanovic almost loses yesterday. You lose today. Does it say that people who think it's a cliché that there really is depth on the women's tour are wrong, that some of these younger players or even veterans can actually really play and pull off big wins on the day?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've always said there's depth on the tour. I'm always asked about who's the bigger threat, who's your toughest opponent, who's your rivalry.
But at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. All that matters is on any given day you have to go out there, and whoever your opponent is, you have to beat them.
Absolutely, I mean, everybody can present a challenge. Everybody has a lot of strength. Everybody is hungry. This girl that beat me today, she might not win the tournament, but she beat me, and it probably made her tournament.
That's the way things go, yeah.

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