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March 20, 2014

Maria Sharapova


6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  She made you work for a lot of the points, especially second set.  It was a good match to get some rhythm out there.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  She made me work extremely hard today.  She's a really quick opponent, got a lot of balls back, as you saw, made me hit a lot, and made me feel like‑‑ tried to do too much in certain situations.
But, you know, sometimes I felt like I was doing the right mistakes and sometimes I felt like I should have been a bit more patient.
But, you know, I guess the types of situations that I want to get to in order to build that match confidence again, yeah.

Q.  How do you feel match‑confidence‑wise?  Do you still feel like it's a work in progress?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It really is.  At this point, it still really is.
You know, that match strength, when you're, you know, deep into the match and also in the later stages of the matches, I think THAT'S hurt me a little bit in these last couple of months.
But I got to work through that.  Nothing's going to come to me.  It's a challenge that I have ahead of me, and I have to face it.

Q.  She's pretty much an unknown player for you.  So what was the toughest thing to play against such a player, especially in the first round of a tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it's always challenging to play someone that you've never played against before and I haven't seen so much of, as well.
So it was really about getting to know her game as quickly as possible out on the court.  But as I said before, she moves really well and she reads the game.  She doesn't have very big shots, but she anticipates the shots extremely well, which makes her really tough to play.
I think she certainly had a chance in the second set, so I was really happy to get through in that second.

Q.  Even though it's a night session match, it wasn't televised or streamed.  Is that something you notice when you're on court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  I have been on TV so many times that, I mean, once is okay for me.  That's great (smiling).

Q.  It's just the way the TV deal works here.  A lot of the women's match aren't being shown, but they showed the men's match after yours.  Do you think that's a problem or something to be fixed for the WTA side?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm not exactly sure of the logistics of TV, but I know it's different at every tournament.  Everyone has different rights.  ATP and WTA has different contracts.
I'm not aware of that.  I'm happy to be on the schedule at this point.

Q.  How do you feel about coming to this tournament?  Finals five times.  You have been pretty close.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, obviously I have been close, and I have had my fair share of chances of winning the tournament.  Obviously I'm still looking for that.
But with that said, I have had really great experiences, great matches here, and it would be really special if I could win it, for sure.

Q.  It's like the only big title you haven't won, right?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm not really sure.  I don't know.

Q.  What makes you think this is the year that you can finally win this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  What makes me think?
Well, I expect to win because I have won before.  I have won tournaments before.
So when you're in the draw, that sense of competitiveness and presence that you have has to be positive and not thinking that I'm here to let somebody, you know, get in the way of what I should do.
I want to go out there and get it myself, and that's the attitude that I have.

Q.  You were playing late today, but it looked like you were hurting.  How is your shoulder feeling?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm feeling good.  I'm still building strength in my shoulder, which is normal not playing for six months last year.  It's a work in progress.  I'm just happy that I'm healthy, and everything else in terms of match play and match strength is going to get there.

Q.  You were talking about obviously still building up confidence and strength.  Do you ever let yourself, you know, measure expectations in those situations, or do you always sort of set the same goals?  Talking about a building year, building something like that, do you allow yourself that, or do you say, I have to go out all the time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  You have to have that type of mindset, but you have to be realistic, as well.  It's tough, because when you know what you have achieved before and you know what kind of level you can play at, it's always tough to go through those moments where you feel like you have to build from absolutely nothing.
Because in the last few years, you know, I felt quite healthy and I have been extremely consistent.  I have had great results.
And when you miss that period of time and when you're in that healing process, you know, your mind is not on trying to win tennis matches.  It's trying to get back and trying to work yourself to get back to that stage.
So the expectations that you set, you always think of what you achieved before, and you expect that you're going to achieve it again.  But realistically, you have to calm yourself down, I guess.

Q.  Is that what you learned most from your postsurgery comeback, I guess?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think so.  I mean, that just gives you a much easier perspective on situations.  I mean, I took matches quite tough before the surgery.  It's never easy to lose, but it gives you a better perspective of where you came from.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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