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June 24, 2009

Maria Sharapova


G. DULKO/M. Sharapova
6-2, 3-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Maria Sharapova. Questions, please.

Q. What are your thoughts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, no real thoughts. I lost the match (smiling).

Q. Do you, yourself, understand what happened this afternoon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, yes. I mean, if I'm smart enough, I should know. It took me a while to get going. It's a little too late to start picking yourself up when you're down a set and 3-0. You know, it's a little late.

Q. Court playing fine, not slippery at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What about it?

Q. It was playing fine, the footing was the same as normal?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I mean, after a couple days it felt, yeah, a lot better than the first day. The first day was a little bit slippery.

Q. What have you learned here about how far you have to come back to your best level?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, it's tough to assess what I learned 30 minutes after losing the match. Uhm, especially when you have a few opportunities, and, you know, not playing your best tennis, but then, you know, feeling like you still have many chances in the match.
It's difficult to assess, you know, what I could have done. You know, it's too late now to assess that. But just move forward. And, you know, this is not an overnight process. It's gonna take time, as much time as it needs, as much time as I need on the court, you know, to get everything together.
As much time as it needs, I'm ready for it.

Q. How frustrating is it when you play a lot of tentative shots, then you play really gutsy shots on the returns when you have match point against you? Is it frustrating you can't do that all the time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there's no real gray area today. But it's just the way it was. You know, I had so many easy balls, and I just made unforced errors from those. And, you know, I don't really know if that's because I, you know, haven't played. You know, when I've had those situations before those balls would be pieces of cake, and today they weren't. But it's okay.

Q. To what do you attribute the serving problems you had, particularly in the third set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I just couldn't go up and hit the serve with the same velocity as the first two sets. You know, I served -- I thought I served pretty good in the first couple sets.
I mean, my percentage was low. But as far as pace, I thought it really slowed down. I didn't have enough juice on it.

Q. Is that feeling tired or pain?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no pain at all. It's a combination of, you know, a long match. Probably a little heavier balls than the last few tournaments I've played.

Q. You did a good job getting back into the match. You won seven straight games.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not good enough.

Q. Obviously. But midway through the third set you were Love-30, fifth game. Missed a couple easy returns. There it seemed to slip. Were you lacking confidence in certain shots, or did she just start playing better again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, look, I'm not gonna take anything away from how she played. She tactically played really smart, you know. For a set and a half she had a lot of variety in her game, she chipped add lot of balls back, but I started getting onto that.
You know, my bigger shots didn't allow her, you know, to do that anymore. But, yeah, I do feel like I took a little bit off the ball and wasn't going for as much. But, I mean, I just didn't do it in that match. I don't know why.

Q. How close are you to getting back to the level you want to be at? How far away from it does this match tell you you are?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I don't really know. I mean, I'd honestly tell you if I knew. It's just one of those questions where I don't really have an answer.

Q. What does your summer schedule look like?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, hopefully play a few tournaments before the US Open. Not really sure. I haven't looked at the schedule. But maybe Stanford. That's where I'll start.

Q. Larry Scott is stepping down at the end of this month as the CEO of the tour. Can you talk about what you think he's done negative or positive during his tenure?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought he did a wonderful job. You know, he had many plans when he stepped into the job, and he achieved many of them. He wanted a little less tournaments. He wanted more prize money. He wanted the season to be shorter. He achieved those things. It's definitely not an overnight process.
You know, a lot of the money that we're earning and, uhm, the sponsors that we have, we definitely attribute to him and his help.

Q. In a new CEO, what are you looking for?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What am I looking for? I don't know how to answer that question right now.

Q. Will you be coming back to Wimbledon next year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Will I be coming back? Let me take a second to answer that question. I think you know the answer to that one (laughter). Absolutely.

Q. Every athlete is governed by his or her body. As we know, whatever the sport, you're like one injury away from a major problem. You were rolling along so well, and all of a sudden your shoulder goes bad. Do you ever wonder, Why me? Do you just say, That's just the way it is?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, well, first of all, those injuries -- you think of those injuries as basically preventing you from playing your sport. Uhm, but if you look at the bigger picture, there are many things that can happen that can limit you to doing things in life or even having a life.
So at the end of the day, if you put things into perspective, uhm, when you get injured, yes. My career is a huge part of my life, and that's what I do on a daily basis. So is it frustrating when that goes away for a while? Absolutely.
But if you have a good head on your shoulders, you also know that there's a life to live. And if you stay positive, everything's gonna be all right, no matter what -- no matter how bad the injury is.

Q. You've always been a crowd favorite here. Did you detect a groundswell of support for Gisela as the underdog today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That was the least of my worries today. I was just trying to win a tennis match.

Q. When you started the comeback, if we told you you were going to do not bad in Warsaw, make the quarters in the French, and go out of this event with no injury, would you have been reasonably happy with that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, I wasn't kidding when I said just being here is a wonderful accomplishment. You know, I'm not lying about it. I had the pleasure of playing on Centre Court again.
You know, I didn't play on it last year. So, you know, this whole event, there's nothing I don't like about it. I enjoy every single minute of it.
You know, the losses are tough. More here than at any other tournament. But, you know, it puts some perspective into your life. It's all right. You know, I have many more years ahead of me.
It's just unfortunate, you know, the timing of my comeback and this only being the fourth tournament. I would have liked to have a longer season before coming here, but that's just the way it is.

Q. Can you put the injury out of your mind? Does it play on your mind when you play in matches, or are you now far enough away from the surgery to put it out of your mind?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's tough to put it out of your mind completely. I sometimes do, you know, find myself in the middle of the match, even sometimes in practice, just, you know, just before a return or before a serve thinking, Wow, it's amazing what I've been through. Here I am playing a match. I sometime have to knock it out of myself a little bit.
But that will go away in a while. I think there was such a big change in my life, such a big layoff, that it's hard.

Q. Do you worry about it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no, no. It's not so much worrying, it's just the thought comes back.

Q. You've talked about match toughness a lot in the past, and this is four tournaments in now. Just reflect on that and talk about how much it really means to be out there playing week in and week out, and how much that means to your game.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It means a lot. And it's only gonna help me from here. It's obviously unfortunate that I couldn't play more matches here. But I just have to look forward to the next few tournaments and work myself -- you know, work hard on the court, go out, play the few tournaments, and hopefully be ready for the US Open.

End of FastScripts

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