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February 15, 2013

Maria Sharapova


6‑2, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You must be pleased with that performance.  How did it go for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I was.  You know, I was happy because, you know, Sam certainly stepped up her level in the second set, and, you know, despite, you know, losing a couple more points than I would have liked to and losing my concentration, you know, I really started playing well when I had to and being aggressive at the right times.
You know, after not serving well for about a set and the beginning of the second, on the important points, when I had to, I came up with really great first serves.  That helped me win the match.
So in the end I thought I adjusted quite well and improved from the other day.

Q.  You got really animated after you managed to hold serve and saved all those break points with aces and stuff.  Do you feel the match would have gotten more her way if she had broken at that point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it's a big difference being up a break and it being even, so, you know, I wanted to bring that energy.  You know, I felt like she raised her level, and maybe I took a step back and was maybe a bit more defensive than I would have liked.
Sam is an experienced player.  You give her a little bit, and there's no reason why she can't take it and run away with it.

Q.  You still have, with this whole race for the top ranking, you have an outside chance if everything goes your way andyou're still on pace.  Is that something, to get back to No. 1, would that be‑‑ you know, a lot of you guys don't seem to be thinking too much about it, but would it be important for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I mean, I think the reason why we don't talk about it as much is because we have been on the tour for so many years and have been blessed to be in that position before.
Is it great to have the opportunity to come back to that position?  I mean, we'd be lying if we weren't.   We're excited about having the chance.  I mean, not only, you know, as a professional athlete, when you're given opportunities like this, it's pretty special.
So of course we look for them.  But, you know, I have been in that spot before.  The ranking is always one of those things where it also depends on the other players' success and the amount of points and the tournaments that they play.
To be honest, that's out of my control, so that's the reason why, to me, maybe it's not, you know, as important as maybe winning the match point of a Grand Slam where it's that in‑the‑moment experience that you have achieved something like that, whereas you wake up on a Monday morning and the ranking system changed and you're No. 1 in the world.
I think that's the reason why maybe we're a little bit, you know, not so jumping up and down at this table here.

Q.  You have been somebody who always likes to kind of have your private life, aside from this.  Do you think that your fans have any true sense of who the real Maria is?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I certainly try to give them that opportunity.  I think there's always pieces of your life that you want to keep private and you want to keep to yourself because you are so exposed to the outside world in so many other things that I do for a living in my career.
You know, through social media and things, everyone always knows where you are.  You know, someone just tweets you're in a cafe, and next thing you know, people are there.
It's a very different dynamic, and I'm very lucky because I am able to have my privacy.  You know, I'm a professional athlete and I'm lucky that not so many people really care about that as much as maybe when you're in Hollywood and you're an actress or a musician.
So I'm given my space and I'm able to live my life in privacy.  I thank God for that every single day, because it's so important for me.

Q.  Your next opponent is either Serena or Petra.  Can you walk us through the matchups with both of them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah.  Either one is really going to be a tough match.  Serena obviously I haven't beaten in a while, and I had really tough ones against her last year.  So, you know, if I do have the opportunity to play her again, you know, I'm looking forward to it.  No matter how many losses you have, you always have to ‑‑a good thing about that is you have a chance to maybe get another match against that opponent.  And if we do, that would be great because I can give myself an opportunity to change a few things.
Against Petra, I mean, she's been there maybe not playing the best tennis like she did when she was a Grand Slam champion, but if she gets to a semifinal stage of a tournament, you know, plus her experience, I think that would be a tough match.  She knows how to play tennis quite well, as well.

Q.  If Serena wins today she would become the oldest No. 1 of the history of the rankings.  Can you talk a little bit about what would that mean, 31‑and‑something years of age?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I think that age, it just shows you how the generations have shifted a bit.  You know, maybe five, ten years ago you saw, you know, a lot of the younger players achieving much more success and winning Grand Slams.  And now, you know, you see Li Na and Serena doing so well.
I mean, I wouldn't say‑‑ I'm not going to use the word "old" because it's quite young still, but because they have been around for so many years, it's incredible.  It just shows you how, you know, if you stay healthy and you're able to keep working hard, the things that you're able to achieve in tennis at that age, you know, it's encouraging because, you know, I feel like I have so many more years ahead of me.  I'm not sure maybe till 32, but I don't know.  You never know.

Q.  Just wondering, when you were at the Olympics, did you have any opportunity to meet or watch Oscar Pistorius?  Were you surprised by the news yesterday?  I'm sure you were, like everyone.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I actually didn't get to watch too much.  It was probably the most hectic week of my career, playing in that Olympics, from the ceremony to all the matches and just the emotions, just, I don't know, living through the whole experience.
I don't even know if I got to watch anything on TV.  Just a few events.  Maybe swimming and stuff.
But it's so unfortunate.  I still haven't read, you know, a lot about it.  But it's crazy to think that something like that can happen, you know.  It's eye‑opening.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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