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August 23, 2009

Maria Sharapova


E. DEMENTIEVA/M. Sharapova
6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had a lot of late nights this week. How tired were you going into today's match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I wasn't as fresh as I was in the first round, but it's definitely a quick turnaround. But it's the final, so you can't really think about it. That's the way things go.

Q. Are you discouraged about the loss today or happy to have made your first final since returning to the tour?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think it was a really great week for me. Playing six matches was great leading up to the US Open. This was really good preparation.

Q. You haven't played her in a very long time obviously because you've been away.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I haven't played many people in a long time.

Q. I think the 2008 Australian Open was the last time you played her. Have you noticed her serve improvement, her game improvement, anything that struck you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think, you know, every time we have played, we always have really tough matches because she's a grinder and she gets a lot of balls back and she makes you hit a lot of balls, so you know, the most important thing against her is execution, if you have a good game plan to go out and really to execute, and I think I just wasn't able to do that.

Q. There was a point in the first set that seemed both of you had trouble serving. I think three games in a row ended on double fails. How much of that was being in a final and how much of that was wind and other things?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, the conditions weren't ideal, but I think both of us have made numerous amounts of matches in not ideal situations and conditions. It was just really -- it was just important to watch the ball and move your feet, and I think towards the ends of both of those sets I wasn't able to do that as well as she did.

Q. You haven't played much lately. What did you get from this that you can use in the US Open, and did you go further than you thought you'd go this week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, my mindset going into every single tournament when you enter it is obviously to be the champion. If you're not ready to do that and you're not ready to compete for six matches, then I don't think you should be in the draw.
So you always have that positive attitude, and you know, I certainly, with every tournament that I played in the summer, I felt like I was starting to play better and get a good feel for the hardcourts.
After the grass season I put a lot of work in outside the court, as well. I've definitely improved over the weeks, and you know, with every match I felt like I stepped it up when I had to.
Last night was tough. I was down a break and was able to, you know, find my best tennis in the end. Today I just came up a little bit short, and next time maybe I'll learn from it.

Q. Speaking of last night's match, and you played late on Friday night, as well, how did you feel when you woke up this morning? Did you feel like you were ready to play your best tennis or were you a little bit fatigued and sore or stiff or anything like that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think we should have played earlier. (laughter.)
Why not, right? What's two or three hours less of sleep going to do to you, right?
You know, like I said, obviously when you're playing a night match, the good thing is at a Grand Slam if you do play a night match then you have the chance to, if you win, rest the next day.
But that's not how it goes, you know, in these tournaments, and it's a very short turnaround, you know. It is what it is.

Q. Is there any point during the match where you felt like you had your full energy, or were you kind of fighting that the entire match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you always try to find intensity somewhere. You always try -- I mean, I certainly had my chances in the match even though I was down. In both of the sets I had so many opportunities to get back in the match and lead. Like I said, the execution wasn't there, and partly yes because I don't think if I could have hit the seventh or eighth ball maybe -- that definitely would have helped me, but she definitely had the edge in that department today.

Q. With the double faults, which is something new for you since your comeback, but they don't seem to get you down, or do they? Do they get you down when you have a couple in a game, or do you just -- you seem to be able to shake them off.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it's coming back from something that's a pretty serious injury with the shoulder, and when you use it so much and all your groundstrokes and your serve, and you know, my serve is, you know, one of my biggest weapons in the game, and then coming off the injury and kind of tweaking your motion a little bit, it takes a lot of time for adjustments when you do something, you know, for your whole career since you were young and you're used to doing it a certain way, when all of a sudden you have to change it at a very elite level. It takes time.
With every tournament I feel like I'm progressing with it, I'm understanding, you know, what feels better, you know, what I can do better, you know, working with the spins.
But you also have to be really smart. Like on the days off, as much as I want to practice it and work on it, I really have to be smart about the amount of balls I hit, you know, just to make sure that I don't overdo it on the arm. That's also pretty critical. So it's a take and give.

Q. I'm the captain of a kids TV show, and one of our viewers has sent in a question for you. Bear with me. I have to read it. It goes, Hi, Maria. My name is Kimberly from Ajax, Ontario. My friends call me Kim. I'm 11 years old. I like watching you play tennis. I play tennis too. I also like skipping rope and playing volleyball, and I watch hockey with my dad. What other sports do you play for fun, and do you watch sports with your dad?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't play any other sports, because I'm terrible at them and I don't want to embarrass myself. If it weren't for tennis, I don't know what I would athletically be doing, but I do enjoy watching sports.
I love watching basketball on TV and sometimes soccer. I like -- I actually like sports where you can score a little bit more and it's a little bit more exciting with the scoring area.
But I definitely enjoy watching it and actually going to the sporting events with big crowds and big arenas, because you kind of know what the athletes are going through even if you're in a different sport.

Q. Do you watch sports with your dad?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah, we watch a lot of things. He likes hockey and I like basketball, so we usually, you know, we fight over the remote.

Q. There was a point where the crowd tried to kind of will you back into the match I thought in the second set. Could you feel the emotion there, sort of they were trying to urge you on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, certainly. You always feel the energy from the crowd, especially, you know, in tough situations where you're really trying to find that intensity.
I definitely felt it, and I felt like, like I said, I certainly had my opportunities but just didn't do much with them.

Q. Are you completely healed now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I'm feeling really good. I've been playing a lot of tennis. This was definitely a great test on the body and on the arm, and I feel like I'm coming through really well.

End of FastScripts

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