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July 29, 2012

Maria Sharapova


6‑2, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How was it playing on closed court at Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  A unique experience I think for everybody in the draw here.  Obviously such a quick turnaround from Wimbledon.  To see it change so much but still be at Wimbledon, being out on Centre Court, see the changes, you know, feeling the changes in the atmosphere, we weren't really sure how that feeling would transition.
But it is pretty unique.  It's quite different to playing a Grand Slam.

Q.  You said something recently on your site about you got one back with Novak on a Head commercial.  Can you fill us in on that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, he had a chance to make a lot of fun of me last year in our first commercial.  This year I had a chance to get back at him, make a little fun out of him.  I had a good time for the six hours we were shooting it.

Q.  What did you think of the atmosphere under the roof?  I don't remember whether you played under the roof before.

Q.  With the rain falling as hard as it was, how would you describe the atmosphere?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Such a different day to the week we've had here.  So much sun and warm.  But it's kind of what you get.
Obviously, the warmup was a little different going from indoor, practicing, warming up at the indoor center, getting a few minutes on the grass.  They said the roof was going to be closed.  It was quite different.
But to see so many flags, people representing their nations, just a different environment.  You know, you see a little bit of it during Fed Cup, but it's quite unique here.

Q.  Did you notice the noise of the rain?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, you hear a little bit of it.  But not a big distraction.

Q.  Nice to have the roof?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah.  When I was younger, I was always disappointed in Florida that they had a roof, because that always meant I had to practice when it rained.  Then I started practicing in California, they didn't have any roofs, I was quite happy.  But then it never rains there (laughter).
Obviously when you see the schedule, you see your name on Centre Court, you know that your match is going to get done.  Knowing what the weather forecast was going to be like today, I was pretty happy.

Q.  Go through what it was like with the opening ceremony, leading the Russian team out.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Oh, it was extraordinary.  You know, I got there quite a few hours before because I wanted to walk around the Olympic Village, as it was my first time.  It was like an athlete's little world.  I don't know how to explain it.  It seemed everyone around, you feel you don't know the person, but you feel like you can relate to so much of what they do, how their life is, and the work, the dedication they put into their sports.
It was just a really nice feeling to just go around and get to know some.  You know, everyone eating together in the big cafeteria, all getting ready together for the ceremony.
You know, the ceremony is something I'll cherish for the rest of my life.  Growing up, I think I was 10 or so, I was watching the ceremony, and I had this huge like dream.  I thought I must be really crazy, but I saw the Russian nation walking out, they had small hats, berets then.  I don't remember who was carrying the flag then, but I thought that was so cool.  Maybe one day I could do that.
As I was walking there, it like hit me that memory of me watching on my small little TV in my room, just being so proud and hoping one day I could have been there.

Q.  How old would you have been?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I say 10, but I'm not sure.  It might have been 11 or so.

Q.  Speaking about the Olympics, some of the players said they were more relaxed, the tension is not so high during the real Wimbledon.  How would you describe that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Uhm, well, of course the tension is high because you have so many players, and there's only one gold medal.  You have eight days and six matches.
It's obviously a much more united event because of the nations and the teams.  But ultimately it's still an individual sport.  So it's interesting because you have that atmosphere of really being connected with your fellow country people, and also when you're going out on the court, it's just you out there and you're trying to beat the person across the net.  It's not like you play one point, then somebody else comes in and plays a point.
It's quite different.  It's nothing like Fed Cup, nothing like a Grand Slam.  It's certainly a unique atmosphere.

Q.  What about support?  Is Sasha here supporting you or not?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  He's back home training, actually, getting ready for the next season.

Q.  Back to the opening ceremony, being in the village.  What was the recognition factor with others towards you?  Any specific highlights?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm usually pretty naïve about like people's knowledge of me, my career, what I've achieved.  I try to be pretty humble about it.
But the biggest mistake I've made in a long time was entering the cafeteria (laughter).  I didn't walk out eating any food.  I barely got an orange juice.  It was quite funny.
I saw one of the players from Germany.  She was like, Oh, sorry.
You know, no matter how many pictures you take.  Actually, I didn't sign any autographs, it was just pictures.  I felt like a little statue.  Everyone was coming up and asking for a picture politely.
But, you know, I have so many events I go to, people ask for pictures, but I've never been so happy to take pictures.  It's such a unique experience there.

Q.  The Olympics happens, kind of fashion week, as well.  You have Prada, Armani, Ralph Lauren.  What do you think of the idea of the Olympics being a fashion week, do you think that's exciting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I haven't thought about it that way.  But I guess.  It's another way to look at things.  It was pretty fun to see everyone's different uniform, the way people want to see their country being represented, and the brands that think of certain designs.
I mean, I saw not all of them, but a few in the opening ceremony.  It's amazing how different everyone looked, the whole appeal.  Some had hats, the sizes and shapes.  A lot of teams had pants, some had skirts, all different colors.  It's nice to see in one big stadium all those colors come together.
I wouldn't say it has anything to do a lot with fashion because it's such a big sporting event.

Q.  How did you rate your opponent's performance?  Were you worried when you lost the first game of the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I had a tough match against her in Miami just a few months ago.  You know, she's capable of playing really, really good tennis.  She can be dangerous.  I was down and out in that match, the last one we played against each other.  So I had to be ready.
I'm not sure if this is the first Olympics for her, but, I mean, it didn't really matter who was there.  It was a huge opportunity for both of us to be in the first round.  I knew that, of course, we were both going to be a little bit nervous, the emotions.  I just wanted to start off the tournament well.  I haven't been competing in a few weeks.  It was just nice to get back in that competitive atmosphere.

Q.  The opening ceremony, the fashion.  How much input did you have on what you would be wearing with the hat and everything?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Zero.  I had input on the size (laughter).  They came in a couple days before to fit it.  I wasn't really happy with the shirt underneath.  I thought it had a high collar, so I had the seamstress like lower it a little bit, then change the shape of the trousers a little bit.  I put my own spin on things.
But as far as the whole design, I think it's a lot bigger than me.

Q.  Aside from the tennis, are you kind of a little bit upset that the tennis is right over here and the main Olympics is right over there, the two cannot mix?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I mean, I'm not upset, because we are playing at Wimbledon.  It's really a no‑brainer I think for the Olympic Committee, where we were going to play.
But I think as far as not being able to see the other events, being so far from it all, that's obviously a little bit sad.  But, you know, there's not much you can do in this situation.

Q.  You are very popular in Brazil.  You have so many fans there.  I'd like to know, what do you think about Brazilian women?  Do you like?  Do you have some Brazilian athletes that you like to see that you're a fan?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I've only been to Brazil once, and it was a really quick trip.  I think it was three days.
I'd love to explore it more.  I mean, I think it's one of the best holiday places you could ask for.  It's just a bit too far for me.  And any opportunity I can have in the future to visit it more, I'm sure I will.
But as far as the people, I've met a few.  I love the language.  That's the best part.  When people are talking there, I feel like they're singing to you, kind of like Italian.  It's like one long song.
But the people, they're just so nice.  They have so much energy, you know, passion.  I love the feeling of being there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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