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March 15, 2012

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/M. Kirilenko
3‑6, 7‑5, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  She kind of came out firing a bit.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, she did.

Q.  Took you a while to get back in there.  There was that real critical game in the second set, and seemed like after you got that things switched again.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  She did start very well, but also it was a poor start from my end.  I think she controlled most of the points and I was on the defense a lot.  That created so many opportunities for her, and she gained so much confidence after that.
Yeah, and she took the break in the second, and‑‑ you know, was just trying to find my rhythm a little bit on everything, movement and playing‑wise, and a little by little I started feeling better.
Towards the end I really got my groove back.  So that was good.

Q.  When she was called for that hindrance on that one point, tapping her racquet, did you notice that?  Was that annoying to you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Unless you're deaf, I mean, of course you notice it.  The whole stadium was quiet.  So, yeah, it's not something I've ever come across.  Maybe in the 12 and unders, but not very recently.
Yeah, it's very rare.

Q.  That also meant, Maria, did you notice when she hit the racquet on the ground three times?

Q.  Oh, you did?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I mean, yeah.  I think that's why the umpire stopped play.

Q.  But did it really bother you, or did you just notice she did it and got ready again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's one thing if you do it once, but I think she did it three or four times.  That's a whole 'nother story.  It's not like a hockey puck or something.  She forgot, I think, the sport.

Q.  Did you think at one time that you were going to lose the game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No, because I knew that I could have played better, you know.  If I felt like everything was going so well from my end and she was just playing so good, then I would have felt like, Okay, well, she's just too good.
But I really felt like I could improve on so many things during the match and change things around.  Little by little, I started doing those things better.
But even the opportunities I had in the first set, she served extremely well.  You know, she fired a few aces and opportunities where I had either 15‑30 or break point, and, yeah, couldn't do too much with that.
But then I also don't think I really played my game and really allowed her to play well.

Q.  Both today and during your fourth round match, it took you a while to get into the game.  The first few games you missed all the shots and so on.  Have you thought about it?  Do you think there is a particular reason, environment, you're more warmed up now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No, I think, I mean, I had, I don't know if it was game points or even break points, in both of those matches, but I just didn't convert.  Yeah, obviously it's not a best‑case scenario, but the matches before I started off pretty good.
So, you know, sometimes it happens.  Obviously you want to be up and you want to put yourself in a good position, but sometimes it doesn't go that way.
It's, you know, not really how you start; it's how you finish.

Q.  You go 4‑2 in the second, and all of a sudden you're 5‑5 and are able to get up to 7‑5 and then pretty much take over.  What's your mindset after you lose those two and then you get ahead to finish out the second set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, well, when it ties to 1‑All you still have a third set to play.  So no matter how the momentum has switched around, you still know that it kinda starts from scratch again, which in a way is good, you know.  She goes and takes, you know, like a five‑minute break and gets settled in again and it gives her an opportunity to think about things, and then you, you know, comes in and fires a forehand down the line return.
But, yeah, it's a new game.  It's a new set.  You really have to treat it like that no matter‑‑ of course you have to take the confidence and the game that you played towards the end of the second set and think of the things that got you in that position to win it and changed things around and try to keep doing that.

Q.  With all you've gone through coming back from an injury that maybe no one else has in the sport, what would it mean to you to become No. 1 again, Maria?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Oh, it would be a great achievement.  It's something that you dream of as a little girl, because when you're playing 12 and unders and you're moving on to the 14 and unders, your goal is always to be No. 1 in all those rankings and age groups.
Actually, when I was, you know, playing all those junior tournaments I never quite reached that stage because I would always try to move to the next.  If I was playing under‑14s and I felt like I was doing really well, I would right away move up to under‑16s and 18s and ITF and challengers.
I don't think I actually became No. 1 in any of those areas, but then you get to a point where you're in professional tennis and you're like, Well, yeah, that's the goal, to be No. 1.  So of course it would mean the world to me.  I would love to be in that position, yeah.

Q.  Where do you think your shot is?  Do you think you have a pretty good chance now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think anyone has a good chance.  You know, I had a good chance at the end of the year and I sprained my ankle, so, I mean, I could say I have a chance and you never know what happens tomorrow.
But, I mean, it's not something when I go on the court today or tomorrow, a week ago, that I really think about it.  I think about winning matches, and I realize that the more matches I win, the better chance I'll have of getting that.

Q.  Ivanovic says that what she remembers of the Aussie Open final last time you played was crying on a bad dropshot she had.  Want to talk about some of your memories which are obviously more positive than that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That's sad.  (Smiling.)

Q.  She was laughing, too.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Okay.  Yeah, we haven't played for a while, and, you know, I think we're in both very different stages in our careers.  She's been playing really well this week.  It's good to see.  I mean, we have had tough matches in the past; I'm sure that this one tomorrow will be tough, as well.
But, yeah, I enjoy playing against her.  She has a big game and big strokes, when she's on, she's really firing, you know, from all ends of the court.
I'll try to have an eye on that.

Q.  On a very serious topic, what's happening with the candy, Sugapova?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  What's happening?

Q.  Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm working on the creative right now, the packaging.

Q.  What kind of candy is it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's gumballs and all sugary stuff that is not necessarily the best post‑match meal.  But it's been extremely fun, because I kinda took it in my own hands.  Now I'm really working on making the creative and the packaging and the way it will look and the branding and the logo and all that creative stuff.

Q.  Is that cool?  Is it gonna be cutting edge design?  Are you going to be on the packages?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Um, I don't know.  I'm not sure yet.  I don't know if it will be me or‑‑ we're brainstorming right now.  Yeah, it will be a few different shapes and flavors.  I think we'll start in a very limited amount and then branch out.

Q.  What's the timetable for it to debut?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I really hope towards the end of the year it will be in stores.  I hope so.

Q.  Are you gonna share it with the press corps or not?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Absolutely.  Max, my manager, had a few samples here and he was sharing it with everyone.  He's like, This stuff is good, yeah.

Q.  Were you talking to the chair ump about the spider cam?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it was moving around and I was wondering if they could just like keep it still for me.

Q.  It doesn't remind you of Big Brother or anything?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  No, it didn't, but I noticed that it was moving from one end to another, and at one point I was, like, This is strange.  Maybe it can just move to the side and stay there for the rest of the match.

Q.  You seemed unusually subdued on court even when you won.  Is it just kind of an all‑business attitude?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I mean, it was a double fault match point, so it's not like I'm gonna just do like a jumping jack or a cartwheel out there after someone double faults.

Q.  Even when you were getting on a roll there you seemed businesslike.  Is it just...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No, I mean, was it different than other times?

Q.  Nothing is weighing on you or anything like that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No, I wasn't really there for a part of the match, so I was really trying to get my thoughts together and collect it.  That was really pretty much it.

Q.  I wondered, for you, what was the biggest change that enabled you to ultimately take control of the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  A few different things.  I think I was much more consistent and I started moving a lot better.  I don't know if I wasn't seeing the ball good in the first set.
It seemed like when I had my opportunities to move forward I was alwayson ‑‑ it was like I took an offensive ball and made it defensive for some reason.  That's the way it felt like, at least.
I don't know how it looked like, but it wasn't really‑‑ I mean, I'm not going to be going to the net every single ball, but I wasn't moving forward and taking advantage of a good deep shot that I hit.
I felt like I started doing that a lot better, you know, and not giving her so many open looks and just stepping in and being more aggressive.
And, yes, maybe I might make a few errors, but maybe I'm doing what I do best.  I might make a few more unforced errors, but I know that that's what I'm good at.  And if she can beat me when I'm playing like that, then that's too good.

Q.  Is it of concern you played for three hours?  You seem pretty fresh.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It was a long time.  I don't know if it was like the breaks or in between the sets or‑‑ I don't know.  It didn't seem as long as it actually was.

Q.  So physically...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  There was a lot going on in the match, I guess.  Like the injury timeout, the break, it seemed like that added another like 35 minutes to the match.

Q.  In between the second and third set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No, and then the injury break.  It seemed like there was so much going on, but I actually thought tennis‑wise‑‑ and I think most of us probably took most of the time we have in between points.  So that probably makes it longer.
But it didn't seem actually that we were like having 30‑ball rallies and nonstop for three‑and‑a‑half hours.

Q.  Playing the same player so many times all these different tournaments, how much of a motivating factor can revenge be for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, definitely.  You mean against Maria today or just in general?

Q.  Her and in general.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, for sure.  When you play against someone that you've faced the previous time and you lost to especially you always think about that match and you certainly want to get your revenge.  That was definitely on my mind going into the match.  I certainly didn't want to lose to her twice.
But, yeah, it's just looking at it like, Well, I'm facing somebody that has either beaten me, had a really tough match against, so what am I going to do to change those things around in my favor.

Q.  Are you conscious about it being a factor on your opponent's side, as well?  You and Ivanovic haven't played since the Australian Open final.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm not sure.  I think everyone has a different feeling and perspective in the way their process is either before or during the match.  So everybody's different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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