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July 1, 2011

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Will you do anything special to prepare for the final?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe a little longer nap this afternoon. That's about it (smiling).
It's a pretty similar routine. Yeah, nothing special. Maybe watch some of the tennis.

Q. Do you ever have problems sleeping if you have a big match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I love to sleep. Nothing usually bothers me in that term.
Yeah, no, I'm pretty good with that.

Q. How would you describe the difference in you as a person, if at all, from age 17 till now when you were last in the Wimbledon final?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you know, I'm a few years older, more mature. I hope so at least (smiling). You learn and you grow, uhm, in the years. You know, you develop, not only as a player, but as a person as well.
You know, gone through many more things in my life and career, yeah.

Q. How about as a tennis player? What would you say is the biggest difference between then and now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The biggest difference? Uhm, I'm not sure. I don't know what the biggest difference is.

Q. Obviously tennis is an incredible grind. You get injured and you're out of it. You have time to reflect. What did you learn? Did that enrich you in some way? Did that make you ultimately a better player on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, with all the time that I had, I did a good job of keeping myself busy. You know, I'm still not the type of person that still likes to just sit down at the beach and do nothing. I can only do that for a couple of days and I just get ultimately very bored.
I love doing things. I kept myself busy with projects. Yes, of course I had time to reflect on my career and things that I've achieved. But I think I was always looking towards the future more than anything than in the past, because that's where I was trying to, you know, envision myself at some point to be getting back out there, so...

Q. It's been well-recorded that during this time you focused on the long range, your brands and business. Now you seem to have so many things going: wealth, fame, good results on court, great fiancee. Long range, what do you really want?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'll make sure I tell him you said he was great (laughter).
What was the question (laughter)?

Q. The question is: Aside from holding that trophy tomorrow, what do you want long range in your life?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, ultimately in my life obviously a big part of my life is tennis. But at the end of the day I'm not gonna be, you know, playing for my whole life. Tennis can only go to a certain point in your life.
I think what I've had in my life is something that I'd love to, you know, have for obviously not the rest of my life. But my family, you know, it's priceless really. My parents have been through so much with me. No matter how good or bad the times have been, they've kept me at a certain level. They've taught me so much in life.
Yeah, it's great to have someone that will be sharing my life with onwards. Yeah, I want to explore life. There are many other things in life as well that I'd want to do.

Q. Do you remember walking out of the Australian Open and sort of saying at the end, promising that you're going to be back?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which Australian Open? This year or...

Q. When you lost early. This year or last year. I remember that image of you being tight-lipped saying, I'll be back. Now you are back obviously. Do you feel a sense of vindication?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just feel a sense of evolvement. You know, this year I feel like I've grown as a player and I've gotten better. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.
So, uhm, yeah. But it doesn't stop here. I never say that. I never have in my career. That I've reached this level and I'm just so happy and so proud. I always feel like there's more to improve and things to get better.
You have to set goals for yourself in terms of as a tennis player and your life, otherwise it's not interesting.

Q. On the practical side, what does she have that is most threatening to you and anybody else across the net?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, she's got a lot of confidence coming in here, the sense of feeling of having nothing to lose, as it's her first Grand Slam final. Also being a lefty, I think that's quite dangerous on grass, because she's been using a lot of her strengths as a lefty and playing really well throughout the matches.
So, yeah.

Q. If you hadn't discovered tennis or it didn't discover you, what do you think you'd have been doing with your life as a 24-year-old?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Finishing university probably. I'm not sure. Maybe doing something with architecture or something. That was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be a rhythmic gymnast when I was young, but when I grew, I knew that I was out of the window.

Q. You mentioned her advantage as a lefty. Can you elaborate on that. What does that mean practically?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, the spin is coming from a different side. The serve, as well. I think on grass, with the way the spin comes out, it's a big advantage, uhm, coming from a lefty.
I think just the spin. It's a matter of, you know, seeing the ball a little bit faster and reacting.

Q. When you won in 2004, do you remember how you celebrated afterwards?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was beyond exhausted. I just wanted to go home. Yeah, there wasn't much. To be honest, I was just with my family, yeah. Not much of a party or celebration type of person. I like to keep it simple and honest.

Q. In 2004 you said you were amazed by how it happened so quickly for you. Are you quite surprised it's taken you seven years to get back to a Wimbledon final?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's the way it goes. You know, I'm not sure. You obviously hope that you can be in the final stages every single year, but I guess it's just not meant to happen. This is the year I'm supposed to be back in the final.
I don't know why. I'm not going to question it. It's just the way life goes.

Q. Do you give yourself some sort of tennis lifespan? Do you think you'll still be playing at 30 or maybe sort of five years on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, that might be pushing it, but I don't know.

Q. Petra is preparing for her first Grand Slam final. Do you remember how you felt the day before the final in 2004?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I remember getting sick the day before the final. So I was just trying to get better, to be honest. I was quite upset with that. I think that took my mind away from everything, to be honest.
Uhm, but, you know, it's another match, although it's at a big stage. I think we just have to treat it like another match and try to play our best tennis.

Q. Was it the nerves that made you sick, do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. Probably a weak immune system.

Q. What do you do in your downtime? Is it TV? Books? Music?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, a little bit of everything. I'm not a big TV person. There's some stupid shows I like to record. When I come back home, I like to watch them when I'm jetlagged or just feeling lazy a bit.
I like to read. I work a lot on my collections, as well, which ultimately takes most of my time, to be honest.

Q. What are you reading?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right now I am reading a book called The Tiger's Wife. Pretty good.

Q. You mentioned in one of your previous press conferences you like the film Bridesmaids.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't see it. I was just referencing to it. Didn't it just come out?

Q. I haven't seen it.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Okay, good. I'm glad.

Q. How is the planning going for your big day? Would perhaps winning Wimbledon, would that be a nice wedding gift for the other half?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's going well, yeah. I haven't progressed too much, to be honest. But it's going well, yeah.

Q. Have you set a date?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, we haven't set a date. And if I did, I probably wouldn't be telling you, so... (Smiling).

Q. What does he think about your chances?

Q. What does he think about your chances and how much would it mean to him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You can ask him.

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