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September 5, 2009

Maria Sharapova


M. OUDIN/M. Sharapova
3-6, 6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're one of the all-time favorites in New York. What was it like to hear the crowd not necessarily on your side?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that's expected, considering she's an American, up-and-coming, obviously having a good win and winning two rounds. So it's totally expected for the crowd to be with her.

Q. When did the arm start getting really tired?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's just been an on-going thing. I just needed a little warmup out there.

Q. After Melanie beat Jelena Jankovic in Wimbledon, Jelena Jankovic said she doesn't have many weapons and she wasn't too impressed.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Shocking. Shocking that she said that.

Q. What are your thoughts about Oudin's game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought she played really well. I thought she has many weapons. You know, she certainly held her ground. I mean, you know, I still feel like I had my chances, even though it wasn't my best day.
You know, when you let those chances go, it's just frustrating. But, I mean, got to hand it to her. She really stuck to her game plan. She played solid. She made me hit a lot of balls. She moved really well around the court, yeah.

Q. What was happening from your side today? Very difficult serving. Was it the arm or the toss or the motion or the sun?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just couldn't decelerate today. I was hitting second serves no less than 95 miles per hour. I even tried to hit it less and I just couldn't.

Q. What sort of potential do you think Oudin has?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she has a great amount of potential considering at her age to get to the fourth round of the US Open and to beat Elena and come out and play three sets against me and come out with a win and still have an opportunity to go further in the tournament.
Considering she's really young, I certainly think she has a great future ahead of her.

Q. You've been talking all summer how a comeback is a work in progress. Looked pretty upset. Talk about your feelings in general.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it's frustrating because you work so hard to get to a certain point. You always want to get better. I feel like I've had a good enough summer. I probably could have definitely performed better. But, yeah, just not the way things go sometimes.

Q. Not easy to break it down. Your serving, was it purely a physical thing or was it mentally, too?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, considering I couldn't hit a second serve lower than 95 miles per hour, it's pretty difficult, yeah.

Q. Do you think she's going to go through what you went through before you won your first major in terms of being that star on the rise? If she is, what is that going to be like for her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, she's off to a really good start. You know, to be able to do it in great fashion like that, you know, really step it up when she had to, I certainly think she can go further, absolutely.

Q. What do you think her greatest strengths are in her game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, she moves really well. She has a pretty good forehand as well. It's pretty solid and deep. She's a good competitor.

Q. You've had many moments where crowds have been behind you, supportive. What was it like to play out there with 20,000 plus basically in Melanie's camp?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, when I'm playing, I really try to be within my own self and really concentrate on me. I know I have the support of my team, the support of my box. It's not surprising at all considering we're in New York City and I'm playing an American. I don't see why not.

Q. Is it a little tougher under those conditions?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no. That's certainly not why I lost the match.

Q. How hard is it to stop the serving problems going over into other aspects of your game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, during the match or just...

Q. Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the future?

Q. When you're having trouble like you were serving, how hard is it to hold onto your groundstrokes?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: With the amount of errors I made from both my groundstrokes and my serve, to be able to get it to three sets is not bad. So if I didn't make those errors, those double-faults, I certainly would have won the match.
So that gives me some confidence.

Q. How do you think her serve will hold up when she gets up against some other tough returners?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Are you saying I'm not a good returner?

Q. I'm saying you had no problem breaking her. What is going to happen when she gets somebody who maybe holds easier than you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I can't tell the future. I don't know. I'm not in her mind or in her serve.

Q. As perhaps you were at 17, can you sense or feel when a player has a presence of mind or a real self-belief out there on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I'm usually the type of player that concentrates on me. You know, I certainly felt her presence because she was getting a lot of balls back and she made me hit a lot. She fought for it. She's a competitor.
But did that lose me the match? Absolutely not, no.

Q. Can you consider the summer a success now, or does this take a little bit out of it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, it's a success in the sense that I'm back out playing tennis and hitting a tennis ball for a living. Not many people get to do that, are not very fortunate.
You know, I'm lucky enough that I work that hard to get back to being on the court and I have to work, if not just as hard but harder, to get back to the top.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about how some of the women in the game weren't mentally tough, were cracking. Do you think it's good to see a young name out there that obviously has a lot of guts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I mean, I think there's a difference between somebody that's pumping their fist when they're winning a point or really grinding it out when they're down and coming back from behind. When they win a point, shout, yell, you know, pump their fist. But I think it's definitely a good sign and good to see that somebody can, you know, turn things around.

Q. She obviously has game. The sport is about winning slams. Do you think she has the potential to win a slam in the future?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, why not? I mean, I think with experience and with playing many tournaments, being in situations where she's playing those types of matches, in big arenas and big crowds, they're going to give her the confidence. They're going to give her the experience. Considering her age, as well, I think she certainly has a great amount of potential.

Q. She said she idolizes Justine Henin. Do you see similarities or a potential to be a player like her in Oudin's game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, to start with, she doesn't have a one-handed backhand. I think that was Justine's really great strength. She does slice occasionally and likes to change it up.
I don't see too many similarities in their games. But that doesn't mean that one is worse than the other. I think every individual has a different type of game and executes differently and has different game plans.

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