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August 13, 2013

Maria Sharapova


S. STEPHENS/M. Sharapova
2‑6, 7‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Maria, obviously, your first match in several months.  Is that just part of what you think it was out there, just a lack of match play?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I thought I started the match off pretty well, but when you put yourself in a really good position you can't let it go.  That's what I did tonight.
I didn't continue what I was doing well for the first set and a half, and that hurt me.

Q.  What were some of those things you think you stopped doing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  You know, I stopped being patient.  I started making a lot more errors, especially off the first ball.  Just errors that I shouldn't make.  Obviously I haven't played in a long time, but I can't make that excuse for myself because I've got to be ready from the first match.
So it's obviously disappointing, but that's the way it goes in this game.

Q.  Did you think that the errors were just kind of coming from you kind of without any provocation, or was that something Sloane was doing, like the defense or something that was putting pressure on you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Sloane is a really great retriever.  She makes you hit a lot of balls, and sometimes you think it's a really great shot but it keeps coming back.  You just have to make her hit ‑ not just her, but your opponent ‑ a few extra times.
That's just not something I did towards the end of the second and the third.

Q.  What's your plan going to New York now?  Obviously a shorter week here than you would have liked, less match prep.  Are you just going to keep practicing?  Nothing like New Haven or anything?

Q.  Just more practice is all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it's better than no practice, so yeah.

Q.  Did you get a chance to implement anything that you'd been working on with Conners now that you guys are working together?  Yeah, how did that work out for at least the one match that you were able to do that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  You know, there's nothing that I'm going to go into a match and change drastically about my game.  Obviously I didn't lose today because I didn't implement what we were working on.  The things that we're working on, I think, are to improve with the game I have.
So, obviously, it's tough to lose at this stage, but just got to keep working hard and keep moving forward.

Q.  Maria, back to the scheduling question.  You played one match between Wimbledon and the US Open.  Why wouldn't you consider taking a wild card and trying to get some more matches somewhere else?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Because I'm planning on playing a lot of matches in New York, and just for the body it's tough to play a week before if you're planning on doing extremely well in that event.  I've just never done it in my career, so why start now?

Q.  How do you think Sloane played?  You've played here several times before, the French Open notably; fairly routine for you for the most part.  What was different this time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think our matches are always tough.  She puts up a really great fight.  She's improved so much over the last year, and that's definitely visible.  We haven't played on hard in a long time.
But like I said, I mean, if I kept doing the right things that I was doing up 6‑2 and 2‑1 with the break, I wouldn't have to talk about how well she's playing.
So it's just focusing a little bit more until the end of the match and not letting go of the opportunity that I created for myself.

Q.  Are there specific things that she's doing better than in Paris you could point out?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's different.  You know me.  I don't like to compare matches too much.  But a lot of credit to her for hanging in there today and playing really solid and making me go for more than I had to.

Q.  Physically, this was the first match that you've played since injuring your hip and all that sort of stuff.  Everything kind of work out, at least physically, okay?  Happy with how your body reacted?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, my hip is feeling good.  That's why I took a little extra time to come back, to make sure that I was healthy in that area.

Q.  Any challenges with the weather being cooler and the wind?  It's not normally this cold.  The cool air.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Cold?  I wouldn't go that far.  If this is cold, I don't know.  Should have been in Europe with us this summer.
No, I think we like cooler, obviously.  In Cincinnati we know what to expect with the hot conditions.  I enjoy playing in the heat because I kind of grew up with that, but I think we'd take an evening like this any time.

Q.  Just your first match with Jimmy sitting courtside, how was that sort of presence different for you?  I saw that you looked over some, not a lot, but some to him.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's great to have his support.  And as I said, I mean, I'm enjoying being part of his experience and him‑‑ you know, just the understanding of certain situations.  He's been there, done that.  It's just nice to have.
But when you're out on the court, if it gets to 5‑All or 6‑all in the third set, you're worrying about you and your opponent and, to be honest, not so much what's around you or your coach or the crowd.
You're so into the match.  That's how I always hope to be, is when I go on the court, everything that I did, just have to go out and trust that and not really think about anything else.

Q.  You're pretty good at sort of putting the losses behind you.  Is that going to be the case today here as well?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That's the plan.

Q.  So is your plan to continue to train in Cincinnati and then move to New York or just go to New York immediately from here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  I'll probably go to Florida.  Yeah, I train there a lot.  I have a home there, so pretty close.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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