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March 27, 2012
M. SHARAPOVA/L. Na
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions, please.
Q.Â With the style of tennis you play, there aren't many matches you win with single‑digit winners.Â What is that an adjustment you made when you saw how she was playing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Ah, yeah, well, I came into this match losing to her the last few times.Â You know, I just really wanted to change that, so I was extremely focused and, you know, looking forward to that match.
Yeah, I was just really consistent today in those conditions where, you know, it's a little gusty and blowing around and facing a tough opponent.Â Consistency is really very important while playing my game.Â So it was that combination.Â I did a good job of that, maintaining that throughout the match.
Q.Â It's been a while.Â You have been hitting your groundstrokes incredibly well.Â She made a lot of errors, but they were long rallies and just kept the ball in play.Â How do you account for that?Â It's been for a while now, actually.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Yeah, well, it's important to ‑‑I mean, my game is obviously the way it is by being aggressive and going for my shots, but also, you know, making sure that if it takes three or four or five, six balls, you know, for the opponent to make a mistake, then that's what it takes.
So it's having, you know, that consistency and also the will to be out there for as long as it takes.
Q.Â Do you feel that you're a much better player now than you were when you last won a major?Â How would you rate yourself now compared to when you last won a major?Â Do you feel you're an all‑around better player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â It's really tough to compare, tough to compare at different times in your career.Â You know, I have been through a lot since my last Grand Slam win.
I was out of the game for a while, so you do look at the sport and playing a lot differently than I did when I was, you know, 21 or so years old.
So, yeah, it's just a different way.Â Tough to compare, it really is.Â You know, I wish I could say, This is better; this is worse.Â But at the end of the day, all you're trying to do is get better.Â You know, get better from your last match and try to improve.
Q.Â I want to ask you about more of a personal question.Â I think a lot of your fans think of you as very glamorous person, and yet a lot of your opponents think you as one of the fiercest fighters on the tour.Â How do you reconcile those two parts of you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Um, it's interesting, because from a fans' perspective, when you don't have access to the person on a personal level, from what you see is when you're on the court to doing interviews to pictures, events, and so on, it can seem very, you know, pretty and glamorous and everything seems amazing.
But they're not there when you're waking up at 7:00 in the morning and you're going out on the court and you're practicing for six hours a day, and, you know, you're going to sleep at 9:30 exhausted for six days out of the week in order to become a better tennis player.
So it's a very thin line between ‑‑ of course, we're so privileged.Â I mean, the things I have been able to do in my career, that tennis has brought‑‑ I mean, I never thought I would be able to have those and experience those.
They're extremely fun and keep me entertained and I love doing them.Â I love being creative and working with the brands that I have and meeting talented people.
But at the end of the day I have a really normal life, as well.Â I have a family, and I'm a woman, and, you know, I still appreciate very small things in life.
I know that I play a sport and I'm very competitive and I want to win and I scream, Come on and all those things, but when I'm home, I'm very chill.Â (Smiling.)
So it's a very interesting.Â Yeah, of course, when people don't see you on a daily basis and don't actually talk to you, many people can have certain perceptions of who you are and how they see you.
Q.Â One supplemental question:Â Where are you more comfortable, on red carpet?Â At a photo shoot?Â On the practice court?Â You know, at a tournament on court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â There is nothing more mortifying than the red carpet.Â (Smiling.)
Really.Â It's only about like a minute experience, but it's really terrifying and it's ‑‑I don't want to say "fake," but it's a very ‑‑it's one big illusion, to be honest.Â The things you see on a red carpet, everything is perfect, the image of a person there dressed beautifully with hair and makeup and wonderful styling.
You come home‑‑ I come home an hour later and I take everything off, and, you know, where did all that glamour go?Â (Smiling.)
So, I mean, I love what I do.Â I love playing tennis, and I know that thing that ultimately wins me matches is the hard work I put on the court.
When I have tough things in my life going on, when I go on court it's like it's like my oasis.Â You know, you forget about everything when you're out there.Â I love that feeling.
I know it sounds silly because you're hitting a tennis ball and you're trying to improve, but really, it's such a good feeling when you feel that you're good at something and you could be better.Â I think as a young woman it's a nice feeling to have.
Q.Â You talk about grinding out matches and hard work.Â How nice is it, this deep in the tournament, to have a match just over an hour?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Well, my previous ones have been pretty long.Â I mean, the first one was over two hours, and the last couple two hours.Â So it's definitely nice to have a shorter one.Â I won't lie.
That's always a bonus, whether you feel you played the match faster or whether you played that well to win the match that fast.Â I'll take it.
Q.Â Do you think you have any benefit or advantage for being beautiful?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â In what?Â In what?Â In life or...
Q.Â No, in your job.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Well, my job doesn't require beauty, so, you know...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â You know, at the end of the day, I think if you feel beautiful, then that's what makes you beautiful.
Q.Â Those days when you go to sleep at 9:30 dead tired and you're looking at a string of them, far away from all this hubub and stuff, is it difficult for you to get out of bed the next morning and get yourself back out on that practice court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Oh, yes.Â (Laughter.)
There are so many days.Â Oh, it's all ‑‑yeah, it's not like every day you're like, Hip, hip hooray, my alarm is off at 7:30.Â Yeah, let's go.Â Especially in the winter days when it's freezing outside.
Oh, and it's like extremely windy and you're going out there and there is just nobody out on the courts.Â Also, the schedule, you know, tennisusually everyone has the weekends off.Â So Saturday, Sundays, everyone is in the city and enjoying like the beach and all that. Â I'm like waking up on a Sunday morning, and, you know, going to train.
You do have those feelings once in a while.Â You're extremely tired, but then when you're playing the finals of a Grand Slam on a Saturday when everyone's, you know, walking their dog in the park, you feel extremely privileged, so...
Q.Â You talk about having a busy schedule.Â Have you had time to set any sort of date yet for your wedding?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Um, we're still working on it.
Q.Â You have been one of the most consistent players this year, along with Azarenka.Â The consistency in the top 10 and having a rivalry brewing, how do you think that helps the tour?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Yeah, extremely important.Â Personally for me it's extremely important because I don't play maybe as many events as other girls do throughout the years.Â So the tournaments that I do play, you know, I really put everything into them and, like, I get ready as well as I can for them.
I usually play 16 or‑‑ if I get to 16 I'm usually lucky in the year.Â That means I'm, you know, healthy and playing all the big tournaments.
So, yeah, it's very important for the sport itself when you're‑‑ when fans see the consistency and the level.Â That brings a lot of fans and a lot more viewership to our sport. Â It's no doubt that it's good for it.
Q.Â What do you think of the WTA's Strong is Beautiful campaign?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â I like it.Â I think it's very unique to what they've done before, to all the advertisements, and I think it's been ‑‑I don't know. Â It's a stronger message than we've ever done before.
It's much more creative, especially with the shoots and the videos that we've seen from all the‑‑ I think fans are seeing a much different side of these women, which is great, because constantly fans, you know, only see them for a limited time in tennis clothes and competing and sweating.
So it's a very nice atmosphere for them.
Q.Â What are you reading these days?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â I'm reading a magazine.Â (Smiling.)
Q.Â Heavy reading, eh?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â A lot of e‑mails.Â (Smiling.)
Um, what am I reading?Â What did I just finish?Â Oh, I read ‑‑I have been in like a French mode ‑‑not in French, but I read this book called Bringing Up Bebe.Â It's about this American family that compares raising children in France to the United States.
I'm always really fascinated by those things, because, you know, parenting is such an interesting cultural thing, different, you know, in countries.
So, yeah, I read the tiger's wife‑something, the Chinese way of raising children.Â So, yeah, it was interesting to get like the French/American perspective.
Q.Â Is there a theme here, underlying theme?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â No, no.Â Definitely no.Â Don't start anything now.Â Don't start any rumors.Â We don't need that.Â (Laughter.)
Q.Â The next round you could play either Serena or Caroline.Â Caroline you played a lot in 2011 and before that, with Serena you have had less success.Â Talk about each of those opponents and the successes and challenges.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Yeah, either one is extremely tough.Â Like you said, you know, I haven't beaten Serena in a while.Â So, you know, I'd love to play her.Â You know, it's good to see her back and playing really good tennis.Â You know, she hasn't played too much in the last two years, me first being out and then she was out for a while.
And Caroline, she's been one of the most consistent players on the tour for many reasons.
But, yeah, either way it's obviously the semifinals, so it's a tough stage and a tough opponent no matter who you'll meet.
Q.Â Do you ever find yourself paying any attention to these other storylines that develop through a tournament, like the comeback of Venus Williams making it to the quarterfinals?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Yeah, I mean, I don't follow it as much as you do because it's your job, obviously.Â But it's certainly great to see that she's overcome what she had.Â And to be able to play, you know, so many three‑set matches and to be in physical shape, you know, shows that obviously she's back and playing 100%, which is great.
Q.Â Do you ever watch any of her matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â I don't.Â I don't have the tennis going on in my hotel, so I'm certainly not going to Google it or something.Â Or get it on the Internet.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Yeah.
Q.Â Aside from competition, what are some other ways that you're a very stubborn person?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:Â Oh, in so many things.Â It's ridiculous.Â It's borderline obnoxious.Â I don't know.Â It's been like since I was young.Â I mean, it's ‑‑like if you read about an Aries, I'm like 100% Aries, Chinese rabbit, all that stuff.
Just read about me there.Â All that info is me.Â I don't know why, but it's me.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports