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December 30, 2013

Maria Sharapova


6‑3, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Your first match in several months.  Any rust?  Seemed like pretty automatic from you pretty quickly.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, nothing is automatic.  I hate to say it, but you have to work for everything out there.
I think I was just really determined to get back on the court.  It's been a while.  I think the whole team was really ready to go out.  I knew I was going to play Monday night a little bit ago already, so I got goosebumps when I heard because I was really looking forward to that day even a week ago.
But, you know, it's those days that you work for.  It's been four months I believe now.  It was a big step for me.  It was a big step to come and a big step to play out there tonight.

Q.  Did you have to keep your nerves calm in the first set, or once you got out there it was business as usual?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I mean, when you have‑‑ I felt like I had a good off‑season because I wasn't injured like the previous one.  You always feel like your expectations are a bit high.
But I personally just to have lower them a little bit given the fact that I haven't played in a while.  It's going to take me little bit of time.  But these matches are what I came here for.
No matter the opponent or the situation, you know, they're really priceless for me at this point, and extremely important.

Q.  Must have been nice that that was the first time you played pain‑free since like, what, early spring or something like that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, since like the Madrid days, yeah.

Q.  Must be nice to be out there not even worrying about the shoulder.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Really nice.  I can't tell you how nice.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Obviously playing Ashleigh Barty in the second round.  Local girl.  Do you know much about her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I've seen some of her results last year, particularly in doubles doing extremely well.  I was never much of a doubles player, so I consider it pretty amazing what she's been able to do at her age.
But she is another future star and someone that I've seen grow up from the juniors and now onto the tour.
She's already played a few matches, four, I believe, here.  For me, it's my second match.  I think for both of usit's just really, in different ways, a great opportunity for me to go out there and play another match against a tough opponent, also a tougher crowd as well, which is understandable.
It'll be fun.

Q.  Given she's obviously had a couple results now against Francesca last year and Daniela today, is she an opponent to be wary of, someone capable of causing a problem?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think always when you're coming up and making the transition from the juniors to the pros, not many players know about your game.  I've only seen a few points here and there.  I don't think I've watched a full set or match of hers.
There are a lot of things you don't know about a player until you're facing them:  their shot selection, the way they play, their rhythm, those are all things you can't see on TV.
So that will be new and different.  It's very rare to play new opponents because we play so many matches during the year.

Q.  She said she doesn't remember you winning Wimbledon for the first time.  That's when you know she's young and you're not.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, probably.

Q.  She said she doesn't watch a lot of tennis, which you didn't either.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I didn't either.  If you did a tennis quiz I wouldn't be very good at it either.

Q.  Talk about that as a teenager, just sort of more focused on yourself.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think that's the way to do it.  You really have to be focused on your job and game and not worry about anyone else's results.  You create your own path.  There's going to be times where it's difficult and you're going to have some letdowns, but a lot of things are in your hands.
If you put in the work and the effort, and at the end of the day things don't work out, you did everything you could and you don't have regrets.  You don't look sideways or forward or backwards.  It's really about the present and creating things on your own and with your team.

Q.  You've obviously changed coaches before.  Is it a unique feeling looking over in your corner and seeing somebody for the first time?  Is there a different vibe on court.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, to be honest, it's been a very seamless transitions with Sven.  We got along from the very beginning.  As team, I think we've all worked really well together in the last couple of months.
We're all big clowns at the end of the day and have fun what with we do, but we're very serious and professional.  I've seen his face for two months now, so nothing new really.

Q.  You won Wimbledon at 17.  The rankings and the Grand Slam results say it's much more difficult to make a breakthrough as a teenager than it was for yourself and Hingis.  Why do you think that is, and how much more difficult is it for a teenager?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I'm not really sure what that answer is, because now when people say about somebody young, I actually have to ask them, What is young?  I don't know if that's 16, 17 or if that's 19 to 21.  Now the young is from 19 to 21 pretty much, so she's really, really young.
But I'm not sure.  I'm really not sure how that changed or why.  I don't really know.  I mean, there were still similar players back then.  I don't know.  I didn't answer your question right.
Sorry, I haven't done press conferences in a really long time.

Q.  It's late.

Q.  Did you miss doing press at all when you're off?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Absolutely not.  (Laughter.)  I miss being out there.  That's the one thing I really missed.

Q.  Having played a match here, what did you think about the reception?  They've been waiting a long time.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it's been three or four years in the making, so when I was walking out on the court I was like, Whew, that took a while.  Last year I had a few practices but didn't end up playing.
It's just as exciting for me as it is for the fans that came to watch me play.  I've been meaning to play this tournament for a long time.  Poor tournament director, Cam, he doesn't believe it until I walk out on the court anymore.  (Laughter.)

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