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May 3, 2013

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Congratulations in Stuttgart.

Q.  You looked great there.  Are you feeling on top of your game for the clay season?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm feeling like there is still some room for improvement.  I had a really good week, obviously successful, but I had to pull through a few really tough matches out there which I think really helped me and put me in good form in the final, which is obviously the most important match of the tournament.
But overall, yeah, I'm quite happy with how I progressed there, and looking towards the next couple weeks are still really important weeks of preparation, as well as big tournaments for us.
So, yeah, it's nice to be back here.  Hopefully I go a step further than I have in Madrid.

Q.  You went back to Russia last week.

Q.  How was it going back?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It was chaos.  It was really nice to be back for just a couple days, but it was such a quick trip.  Yeah, I rarely go back there, but it's such a nice welcome when I do.
I sometimes forget how‑‑ I don't know what I mean to the sport there and in general.  It was nice to have that sort of reception back in my home country and see a lot of fans.
I mean, the event that we had for Sugarpova was incredibly successful.  It blows my mind way every time I see that type of reception because I consider myself quite normal and not so recognizable at times.
When I'm there it's a whole different ballgame.

Q.  When is your next Sugarpova launch?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That's a good question.  I think in Paris.  Yes, at Colette.

Q.  Did you already practice here?  What do you think of the quality of the courts?  Is red better than blue?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I have.  I've been practicing here for a few days already.  Well, I think we all know that last year was a very hopeful experiment and it didn't turn out so well I think for ‑‑ not for the tournament or for the players as well.
I think everyone kind of learned their lesson and we're back to normal now.  Yeah, it feels pretty good.  I think it's quite heavy right now.  I think also the conditions have been quite cold and muddy, so it's feeling a little bit thick.
I think over time it's going to become a little bit faster.

Q.  You could go back to the No. 1 spot at the end of this tournament.  Do you think about that, or do you just want to play your game game by game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't want to think about it too much, because it also depends on the results of other players.  Of course, I will do my best to get as far as I can and control what's in my hands.
As far as how other players do, it's not in my control.  I try not to worry about it too much.

Q.  How do you feel about playing here in Spain, in Madrid?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm very, very happy.  I haven't had really good success at this tournament, but in general I love playing in Madrid.  I like playing in the altitude.  You know, I was quite successful in the Championships here for a couple years when they had it.
But, yeah, my goal is obviously to do better.  I think the quarterfinals is the furthest I've got in this tournament.  Certainly my goal is to go further this time.

Q.  If it's possible, this is nothing to do with tennis.  I just asked Azarenka.  Which is your greatest fear?  Snakes?  Dark?  Heights?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't like the dentist too much, which is probably not really great considering I have a candy line.  (Smiling.)
But, yeah, I don't like insects either, like bugs that don't look very pretty or have legs that don't necessarily need to be there on their bodies.
So things like that.

Q.  I would like to know what is your favorite place to go on holidays?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Somewhere warm, somewhere with a beach and sun and good alcohol.
Yeah, I usually prefer the warmer destinations compared to the cold ones.  I'm not very good with layers.  It's a big disaster when I have to put lots of coats on.  I'm not a big skier or snowboarder, so I tend to go to places where it's very easy and relaxing with a beautiful view and good company.

Q.  Can I just ask you what you think of the new Strong is Beautiful campaign?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it's actually not that new.  It's been around for a while.

Q.  First time I've seen it.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Really?  I feel like I've seen it for a year and a half now.

Q.  Do you think it's true that women are getting stronger?  Is it a part of tennis that's coming forward?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't think it's about the fact that we're strong physically that is what makes us beautiful.  What we do on a daily basis is very strong both physically and mentally.  We know we're women, and it's nice to have a feeling power when we do something and do it quite well.
We have that strength behind us.  Yeah, absolutely think that's true.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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