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June 22, 2013

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How often do you get to see the footage of when you won here for your first major title, and what thoughts and emotions do you experience when you see that video?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Uhm, I haven't actually seen it in a while.  Sometimes I do get the chance to watch it if I feel like I need to.  Sometimes my fans make videos, you know, of my wins at all the four Grand Slams.  They put collages together.  That's really when I get those memories back.
But I don't intentionally look up those videos too much.  I don't think I have enough time for that really.

Q.  When you say you need to, what are some of those occasions?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Look, when I was injured a bit I watched a lot of those videos.  That really inspired me to get back, yeah.

Q.  What were the sensations on grass at practice?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I had a really good last couple of weeks.  I came straight to London after Paris, took a couple days off, and started practicing.
It's been really nice.  I really enjoy the city.  I have a couple of friends that are living here now, so been able to spend a bit of time here.
It's also nice.  Been in busy cities the last few weeks, so it's nice to be in a quiet area listening to the birds singing instead of the taxis honking.  That's a really nice change.
And just practice.  The reason I don't play a warmup event is because of so many tournaments back‑to‑back.  It's always just nice to get back to working, to playing, working on a few things here and there.  Sometimes when you get in a groove of playing so many matches you lose that work ethic a bit.

Q.  Does it feel like it's been 10 years since you first played here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it feels like it's been a while, definitely.

Q.  How has your opinion of this place changed?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's just as special.  It's been special ever since I was a junior.  You know, I love everything about it, including the weather.  I love the rain, so maybe that's why I don't mind breaks.  I expect to be going off the court a few times.  Comes with the territory of being here.  Unless you're playing on stadium court, of course.
Yeah, I think this is the stage as a professional tennis player where you want to compete at, so...
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Nice hair, Maria.  Beautiful hair today.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Can we talk about what you did the other day (smiling)?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  You didn't like the video?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I loved it (laughter).
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Who was better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  By the way, I don't do any of those things anymore.  None of those.  I don't stick my ass out anymore, okay?  I don't do this with my hair anymore.  You haven't watched me play recently.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I watch you play.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Then you need a new me.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, no, no, trust me.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  You're actually starting to look a bit like Roddick when you're imitating.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yes.  That's how he serves.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Who did impersonation better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't know.  I don't know.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Oh, look at her.  Make a choice.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  This is not multiple choice, okay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Enjoy.  Sorry, guys.

Q.  What do you think of playing Mladenovic in the first round?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think she's a great player.  I've seen her play a bit.  I think she has a good game for grass.  She seems to be doing very well this year.  The first matches are always extremely difficult, so I expect an extremely difficult match.

Q.  You seem to have a good relationship with Novak, as we've just seen.  Do you tend to get on better with the men's tour than the women's tour because you're not competing with them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I've just known Novak for a really long time, for many years, and we've shot many Head commercials together.  I've just spent a lot more time with him than any other player, yeah.

Q.  What sort of a mimic is he?  How would you describe him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  He exaggerates a bit.  Just slightly (laughter).  Minor details.

Q.  Have you ever done an impression of him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  I'm not good at those things.  I never said I was an actress.  I'm not good, yeah.

Q.  Have you read Serena Williams' interview with Rolling Stone Magazine?

Q.  What did you make of the comments?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Obviously I have a tremendous amount of respect for Serena and what she's achieved on the court.  You can never take anything away from that.
I was definitely sad to hear what she had to say about the whole case.
As for myself, or whether it was about somebody else, nothing personal, you know.  We've talked to Serena many times, and I know everyone tries to create rivalries between us here and there.
At the end of the day, we have a tremendous amount of respect for what we do on the court.  I just think she should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that's just getting attention and controversy.
If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.  Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things.  She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that's what it should be about.

Q.  What do you make of the apology she issued afterwards?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I haven't seen the apology.

Q.  What about Venus Williams' legacy?  She's not here.  What are your thoughts about what she's meant to Wimbledon and to the tour in general?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I mean, despite her being injured and despite her not being here, I think she's left certainly so much history in this tournament.  She's accomplished a lot, you know.  It's tough to see someone that's been on the tour for so many years that's been at such a high level to see struggling a bit with injuries.
But overall she's always a tough competitor, and I've always had extremely difficult matches against her.
So, yeah.

Q.  You made a big impression as a teenager back in 2004.  Are there any teenagers that you see making an impact?  Laura Robson and a few others, as well.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I think it's part of a process.  It's part of a cycle about, you know, generations coming up, doing well, and teenagers becoming experienced players, and knowledgeable.
I think there's no reason why someone like Robson cannot be top 10, top 5, No.1 in the world.  But yet it's not an overnight process.  It takes a lot of tournaments, a lot of days and practices.  You have to be in the right hands at the right time in certain situations to make that step onto that next stage.
You know, I think we talk about it every single year here.  You get a lot of questions about, Why is our generation‑‑ or why are girls and boys from our country not doing extremely well right now?
Well, it's because it doesn't all happen in one night.  Just because you have money and you have the best people and the best training in the world, doesn't create or make talent in one or two days or a month or a year.  It takes a really long time.
There's no doubt that all these girls have a tremendous amount of, I mean, talent and futures ahead of themselves.

Q.  (Question regarding the LTA.)
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think there are a lot of Federations that have a lot of money.  I'm sure the LTA is one of them.

Q.  What are the key ingredients a teenager needs?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  There's a lot.  As a player, there's so many different directions that you can go in.  The best is to figure out what's really the best for you and not think about anyone else.
Sometimes you have a lot of opinions around you, especially from a very young age.  But if you have a plan, you have to stick to the plan.  You have to believe in it.  You have to grind.
At the end of the day, if you're talented and you don't have work ethic or you're not placed in the right hands, it's really easy to not make it.  You know, at the end of the day, that's just of the bottom line.

Q.  Back to the comments about the Serena article.  I don't think you've ever really had a moment where you had to issue an apology for something ‑ that I can remember anyway.  What is it about you that's been able to keep you somewhat out of trouble, I guess?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  This is nothing to do about me.  I mean, it's not about being in trouble or not.  I obviously have many opinions about different things in life.
But what I do on the court and what I talk about in my press conference is strictly about my career.  I'm sure people want to know more, but yet I try to keep my personal life private.
I try to keep‑‑ nobody really cares about what I have to say, my opinions.  If I speak to my friends, that's one thing.  But I don't go out and try to create things that shouldn't be really talked about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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