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March 17, 2011

Maria Sharapova


6-2, 5-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Happy after that? Satisfied? Content? Just okay?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, I'm really happy to be in the semis of this tournament. You know, I felt like I was playing really well for the first set and a half, and then, you know, really let her back in the game.
You know, even 2-0, look at a good second serve, I missed it, and she played some good points. Then after that I was forcing so many things. My first serve -- I was giving her so many looks on second serve.
She's a really aggressive player and puts a lot of pressure on from you the first point, and if you're not the one doing that, you know, it becomes dangerous. That's what happened.
I just started, you know, making too many errors. Yeah. But then, most important thing is I got myself together, and, you know, I focused and regrouped. Yeah, the match is never over till the last point, so, you know, I was really strong, and I'm really happy about that.

Q. That's called experience, isn't it? Match experience?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but it's also just, you know, realizing the situation and, I guess, battling through no matter how good or bad you were playing, and knowing that you still have many points and games ahead of you and just make the most out of it.
Yeah, there's no reason why - if you did it for that period of time in the beginning, there's no reason why you can't continue it, you know. I knew that in my mind.

Q. When you are going through a rough patch with considerable errors what kinds of things can you do to get yourself refocused? What are you telling yourself during those times?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, well, I mean, I think the toughest part is right away your opponent gains a tremendous amount of confidence. You can see that, because, you know, for a period of time you're, you know, playing well and it seems like they're making, you know, all the errors, but you're doing something in order for them to make those errors.
Then, you know, little by little, whether it's -- you know, you lose something on the ball - I mean, you know, speaking for myself - you're are not as aggressive, not stepping in, not making enough first serves, giving her easy, you know, easy points, they right away gain a lot of confidence.
It just sometimes becomes, you know, difficult thing to get back. That's why I'm really happy that I was able to come back.

Q. When you called for your coach, is that partly to slow that momentum and maybe disrupt her game a bit to give yourself a breather?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, well, you don't get any more time when you call for a coach, but just to get a little bit -- sometimes an outsider's perspective is a little bit different than what you're seeing or thinking on the court.
So, you know, sometimes from the outside you see a little bit different and you don't realize what exactly you're doing. But, yeah, for me, it's a little bit more just motivational and an energy-type of thing than anything else.

Q. Have you had a chance to kind of step back and take an overview of this and the opportunities? I mean, Serena, she's ill and all, but she's not there anymore. Venus is not there anymore. Clijsters gets hurt. I think you're back in the top 10 with this victory, I think.

Q. This is an opportunity. You're only 23 years old, and there are plenty of Grand Slams out there. You seem to be healing. Is this kind of like the time? Do you feel that? Have you thought about that? Any strategy?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I don't know when a time is. I mean, I don't know if it's yesterday, today, or tomorrow. (Smiling.)
I mean, I think at way I look at it is the more matches you win, whether it's here, whether it's at a Grand Slam, the better your ranking is gonna be, I mean, yeah, the further you get in a tournament. So.
I don't know. I never really focus, this is my time, it's now or never. Might as well -- yeah, I don't know, jump off one of the canyons over there if you have that mentality. It's pretty tough to think like that.
You just have to -- you know, even if you do feel -- sometimes you come into a tournament and you feel great and you feel like you're confident and everything's working well, hitting great in practice; sometimes you come in and those things don't quite work match in match situations.
Other times you feel kind of crappy on the court, and you come in, and all of a sudden you find yourself swinging away and balls are going in and you're in a later stages of the tournament, you're loose because you didn't really expect much.
It's very different. It makes the sport really unique.

Q. What do you expect out of yourself at this point? Is it match to match, or are you looking kind of big picture?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I look at the big picture, because I think it's really important to have a good perspective of where you see yourself now and where you want to see yourself. I mean, I have personal goals, of course. I still believe that I have a lot in me.
That's why I, you know, fight so hard to -- you know, no matter whether it's a match or on the practice courts, I'm always trying to get better. Yeah, that's my goal right now, is to try to improve, is to try to improve.
And right now's goal is I'm happy that I'm playing matches, and I just want to keep doing that on a more consistent basis and doing it on a healthy basis, as well.

Q. Could you take a moment and try and put into words the feeling you get at that moment of triumph when you know you've won a really big tournament, Wimbledon, the U.S., Australia, that sort of ecstacy? What floods through you at that moment? Can you try and put that into words?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, I'm getting goosebumps.
It's a special moment, because you're practicing, and when you're young it's what you dream of; it's what you see on TV. Those are the big trophies that you just dream of, whichever Grand Slam it is. Some have their favorites.
And it's just a moment of -- I mean, the first thing that comes into my mind is there's days that are just so hard and you really have to really push through them.
Sometimes you have to have someone that pushes you a little bit more, and it just feels so good, because you did -- you fought through. You never knew if you were going to have that chance, if you were going to have the chance to hold that trophy, but you did everything in order -- everything you did, you're not regretting.
That's a good feeling to have, because it's so important, especially for younger kids. I always say you never really want to have that feeling of regret, like you had so many choices that you were never sure if that was one you wanted to follow. You know, it's a really cool -- it's an incredible feeling, yeah.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Caroline? She seems to be getting better by the month. Extremely consistent.

Q. Invites unforced errors from other opponents. She's had a few problems in the slams against the more experienced players, but for the most part, she's every single week going deep.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Listen, she's the No. 1 player in the world, and she certainly deserves it. She's doing a lot of things really well right now, and like you said, she's a very consistent player. That has won her many, many matches.
You know, I think tomorrow -- I didn't have a great match against her at the US Open. I didn't feel like I played that well. I'm hoping that tomorrow, you know, I'll come out and it will be a different situation. I'm just gonna fight for every point.
I look forward to it.

Q. US Open? I know you don't like to look back too much, but for you is that just more of a lack of execution than anything else?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just remember a lot of errors. Yeah, definitely when you're making errors, you're definitely not executing a game plan.

Q. How's the new coaching arrangement going? How would you describe his voice? Any comparison to Michael's? How is he different?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's been great. It's only been a short period of time. It's hard to say, you know, after you've only spent a couple of months with someone new, especially when you've been, you know, with someone for so many years before that.
So obviously it's new and it's fresh. It's something that I wanted. That's why I made the change. I'm happy with it. Like I said in Australia, I really like the energy that, you know, he puts in my practices. You know, he's very professional. A lot of good qualities. We'll see.

Q. Is he more X and is Os, or is he more sort of emotion, feeling?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like a game plan, Xs and Os?

Q. Yeah, like strategy.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not really great with strategy, like certain strategies. I hate to say it, but I think it's more -- I think it's just more of a different voice and a different perspective. He's also coached against me, and, you know, he's coached against other players, as well.
So it's -- I don't know. It's new; it's fresh; I'm enjoying it. Yeah.

Q. When you arrive at one tournament to the next, just before things start, do you have the same sort of feeling mentally and all that, one tournament to the next? Or do you feel that, Oh, God, here I can do really well; I think this could be a good week for me? Or this is not really working out the way I wanted to? How do you feel from one tournament to the next?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it always changes. Because especially when you have back-to-back tournaments, it's a good way to, you know, see what worked and what didn't work in the previous tournament, what you feel like you might need to work on.
You always get a better idea of things when you're playing matches, so you're more aware of things and you know what to work on more than maybe when you came into the first tournament after only practicing for three weeks or -- you know, having the tournament I think really helps you.

Q. Coming into here, how did you feel?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Coming into here? I was just really excited to play. I was out of competition for a while. I hadn't played tournaments since Australia. I was really eager. To be honest, I was getting really sick of practicing, so I was just really happy that there was a tournament.

Q. We of course are here in California. Glamour, cutting age, diversity. In what ways do you see yourself as a Californian?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, it's interesting, because I spent so much time in Florida growing up, and, you know, because of Michael living in Los Angeles, I ultimately bought a place there.
So being able to have, you know, both of those has been really interesting. They're both very different. I mean, my house is pretty -- on a quieter side of Los Angeles, so it's more of a beach town.
In some ways it's similar to Florida because it's quite relaxed, and I don't think I see a human being, maybe five miles from my house. So it's really quiet, and it's nice. I think you go there, you have the house, and, you know, you practice there.
It's kind of like you eat, breathe, and sleep tennis in a way, because that's where I grew up and that's all I did when I was there, so that's the only memories that I have of going there.
And then, I mean, California is very different. I think it's a little bit younger and maybe fresher, and you have different parts of it and many places to visit. It's fun. I have been on vacation in different parts of it. Napa is actually one of my favorites. Yeah.

Q. Can you talk about your support of the survivors of Chernobyl and what that brings up with you regarding the survivors of Japan. Knowing your support for the survivors back in Chernobyl, what does that bring up for you as you're reading the news and about what's happening in Japan?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's really devastating, and something I don't think even words can describe I think for many of us seeing the paper on a daily basis. Sometimes I'm just even, you know, afraid to look at what's written under the photos. It's really horrifying.
But, um, I mean, right now I think it's -- once hopefully the radiation settles down, and hopefully -- I mean, that's going to be the most important thing right now, is settling that down, making sure it doesn't spread, not only around Japan, but everywhere else.
And then it's going to be a recovery process. It's so interesting. I mean, ten years ago if maybe something like that happened you wouldn't see such quick recovery effects. You can go on any website right now and you can donate to the Japan relief.
Ten years ago I don't think you had that accessibility. So I think that's really fortunate, and I hope many of the players will hopefully get together and think of something.
I'm actually hoping if maybe the Japan tournament still goes on after the US Open that maybe we can do something before it, an event with some of the players and raise some money with that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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