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June 22, 2010

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/A. Pivovarova
6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria Sharapova.

Q. Couldn't have been much easier, could it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, it always could (laughter).
Uhm, yeah, it was the first time I played against her. The draw changed a little bit. I was expecting to play someone else. Kind of last minute was playing against her.
But I never played either. So I think the goal today was, you know, to come out and just try to figure things out pretty quickly. And, uhm, I did a good job of that.

Q. Physically, are you almost a hundred percent fit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, yeah. I feel good. My body feels good. You know, I'm in much better match condition than I was last year. Feel good physically, yeah.

Q. When you wake up in the morning, does the shoulder still hurt to kind of start the day?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not when I wake up in the morning, no.

Q. When then?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: If it's like really, really cold, like almost snowing (laughter).
Uhm, I think it's not that it hurts; it's just that -- it's hard to explain. Like before when I was younger, a few years ago, if I wouldn't play for a few days, I would come out, the third, fourth serve I could hit pretty much as hard as I can. Now it's like 10, 15, 20 serves by the time it warms up. It's just those little things, yeah.

Q. Have you gotten to talk to Sasha much about his championship and did you get to watch any of the parade online or anything?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. But I got a lot of pictures from it. It seemed really crazy. Yeah, I'm very happy for him and the team.

Q. Kobe is such an incredible athlete, the way at crunch time he gets the ball, works with his teammates. Do you see any of that in tennis? Do you see any of that in Federer? Do you learn from that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think it's the determination to win, that spirit that no matter what the score is, uhm, no matter what situation it is. It's a little bit different in a team sport because sometimes you might not be having your best day. The great thing is you have people surrounding you that can lift you up and really help you.
In tennis, it's a little bit different where, you know, you have no one but yourself. I mean, I much prefer it that way, because if I had a great game, the other people just, you know, had an off day, I'd be pretty furious at them, so... (Laughter) that's why I play an individual sport.
But I have a tremendous amount of respect, I mean, for athletes in general because you can really relate to that determination.

Q. This may be pushing it, but the Lakers did such a great job of coming back from seeming to be out of it from Boston. Are you particularly proud of the way you've been fighting to come back?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I can't compare that to the Lakers (laughter).

Q. I do. I think it's a real determination that you have.

Q. I wanted your thoughts on that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, when you step out on a court, whether it's today, whether it's a year from now, whatever has happened before, whatever you felt, whatever the results you had, no matter if you won or lost, no matter if it was a great match or a bad match, you're out there to play another one, you're out there to do something different.
You have to forget everything that happened in the past, no matter if you won this tournament, if you lost a few times, if you had bad results, unlucky times. Everything, when you go out on the line, it all starts from scratch.
That's the way I see things. You go out there just to try to win one match, whatever's ahead of you on that particular day.

Q. Do you feel like anything is missing from your game now, or do you feel like you're at the point where you can really contend?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I think there are things, whether it's a few percent here and there, I think at this stage, you know, in my career, I think a few percentages here and there can really help me. I don't think anyone's gonna make, you know, 50 backhands in a row or 50 forehands in a row. Everyone's going to make mistakes.
But it's about your game plan and how you execute, just going out there. If you win or lose the match, I mean, for me, if I leave the court and know that I did what I had to do, I played the way I wanted to play, if it was a bad day, I happened to lose the match, you know, that's the way it goes.
But I have to go in there doing what I do.

Q. But are your very good days at the point where you feel like, Yeah, if I play my best now, I really can beat anyone again?

Q. Are you confident in your serve now? How much more so than, say, a year ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well a year ago, uhm, it's tough to compare because this was only my third or fourth tournament back. I was just trying to get my feet on the ground and see where I was with my game and with my shoulder, whether it could keep up with the amount of matches that I would be playing and the conditions and everything.
You know, a whole year does a tremendous amount of things. Obviously, you know, last year I had to start with a shorter motion just to help my arm because I really wanted to go out there and start playing. And my shoulder felt good, but I had to change things around to get comfortable, uhm, with getting my speed back and the consistency in my serve, yeah.

Q. What motion? Is it still the shorter motion? Have you gone back to the old motion?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it's not the shorter one.

Q. Maria?

Q. Why aren't you in the Florida sun right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Because of you.

Q. A couple things coaches can't teach. You refuse to lose and you don't complain.

Q. I also would like to compliment your coach about the great job he does with you.

Q. It's just fantastic. The tour needs you. I'm delighted for how you're playing again.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thanks, Nick. Can I put you in this bag and carry you to every press conference?

Q. How has your perspective on tennis and maybe beyond tennis changed through what you've gone through since your injury?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just personally?

Q. Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Perspective on the game?

Q. Perspective on your own role in tennis, on your enjoyment of tennis, and what it takes to play it.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, my joy in the game is pretty up there with what it was before I got injured. Maybe even more so because it was taken away from me for such a long period of time that it made me realize how blessed you are when you're actually on the court, you know, are able to hit a tennis ball for an hour a day, and be good at what you do.
It's a really good feeling when you go to your job and you know that you're pretty darn good at what you do and that you can be better, that you can be holding trophies. It makes you want to work harder.
I mean, at the end of the day, I know that there's always going to be, you know, younger girls coming up with different types of games, and you have to be ready for that. You've seen that in the last year, there are many different types of players, some younger girls that broke through that did good. It's a little bit different than it was a few years ago. You have to be ready from the first round on to play against really tough opponents.

Q. To what degree do you consider the possibility of not being able to come back the way you have?

Q. To what degree do you consider the possibility of not being able to come back the way you have?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, there are many possibilities in life. But you never know. You never know until things happen. I mean, I believed that I would be back.
Did I really know? I assumed and I had a lot of belief in myself and I had a tremendous amount of support from the people around me.
But you never really know till it happens.

Q. Are you surprised there aren't more teens breaking through like you did here a few years ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not sure. I really don't know. I don't know how many teens there are playing here in the draw. I don't really know their results. I mean, I can only speak for myself. Obviously, I was fortunate to get the opportunity to win the title at a young age. But that didn't just happen out of nowhere.
I came here, uhm, I believe already top 16 seed when I won The Championships.
I didn't have the greatest results. I didn't achieve anything huge. But I was progressively feeling like I was beating, you know, players that maybe should have beat me, but I beat them and I got that experience from those matches. Even losing matches, I feel like I gained a tremendous amount of experience, and that really helped me to win.

Q. Why do you think we aren't seeing more teens that are able to do that these days?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think that's necessarily true. I mean, you're saying to win a Grand Slam? I mean, I don't think it's as easy as it sounds. It's not just the crook of your hand it's going to happen, the snap of your fingers, bam, you're going to win a Grand Slam. But there are some teens that are breaking through and getting far in tournaments and really pushing everyone.

End of FastScripts

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