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June 6, 2014

Maria Sharapova


THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Apart from your opponent tomorrow and your opponent yesterday, do you get the feeling, as many of us do, that there is a whole new wave of young talent coming into the women's game, more so than we've seen for a number of years?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Absolutely.  I think this tournament has showed and displayed that throughout the whole two weeks.  I got a chance to play against two of them in this tournament, and both played at a very high level.
I think that shows many good things to come from the young generation.

Q.  On Simona specifically, who you're playing tomorrow, some people have compared her to Kim Clijsters, the way she moves and takes the ball early.  Have you noticed any similarities to her or anybody else you've played in the past?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, we played a few weeks ago, and it was a very, very tough match.  I was happy to get through that one, because we hadn't played in a long time since then.
Her level has definitely increased in the last year.  With the way she's been playing, she's always a difficult player to play against.  I think she's playing really well.  She hasn't dropped a set manage this tournament.
Despite all that, I'm in a Grand Slam final.  No matter who is across the net, I feel's a great opportunity for the both of us.  I'll be there until the very last point.

Q.  Some people are still getting their heads around Simona and she's going to be top 3 into the final.  Can you explain what is it that she does so well?  Tough match in Madrid; you're able to come back and win that one.  What is it exactly that she does?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think in the last year she's proven that's she's able to have great results consistently.  And in terms of ranking and where she's positioning herself, I think that's a very great quality in a player, to be able to be so consistent from week in week out.
I think she won six titles last year.  That's pretty impressive.  So obviously to be in that position, I mean, she deserves that.  That's a position I want to be in, you know, so I'm gunning for that.
But I think she has a very solid game.  She is very physical opponent.  Always a very physical match against her, and you must be ready to play however long it takes to win the match against her.

Q.  In sports, no one is more celebrated both in Russia and the U.S. than you are.  We have Putin and Obama both in town.  If you could say something to Obama about the Russian people, Russian soul, what would that be?  And if you could say something to Putin about America, American entrepreneurial spirit, what would that be?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Is that really necessary today?

Q.  I think it's an interesting question.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it' an interesting question.  I just don't think it's the right question before a Grand Slam final.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Well, let me put it a different way.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Okay.  Let's try again.

Q.  Plan B.  How has your Russian heritage helped you in your game, and how has coming to America working with Lansdorp help your game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I've gotten to experience both countries extremely well.  I formed my childhood memories in Russian.  Although leaving at a very young age, I still have a lot of connection to my hometown, to all my relatives that live there.
America has brought me a lot of opportunities and has helped me grow so much in my sport.  At the time when I was young, it was quite difficult to become a very professional player.  Tennis was not a very big sport when I was six or seven years old; therefore, we had to find different opportunities.
In my case, it was America.  I'm very thankful for all the people‑‑ although not all the coaches I worked with were American, my base was there and I still live there, yeah.

Q.  So in this tournament you're not necessarily playing your best all the time, but you show such determination to win.  What's this title mean for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I always think that within two weeks of a Grand Slam, of course you always want to play your best tennis.  You try to perform as well as you can.
I've had some really tough matches where I've been pushed.  In the last three matches especially.  A lot of times in my career I've felt better coming off those matches knowing that I might not have played my best tennis or just didn't feel as great as maybe I should have or done the right things, but I came through and I'm finding myself playing for another major.

Q.  You never need an extra motivation or anything like that.  All this talk about the younger set and this new generation coming through and breaking through ‑‑ I think Roger Federer on the men's side, because there is the same sort of thing happening over there said, Well, but the same guys are winning big tournaments.  Can we really be talking about a breakthrough.  Motivation‑wise, is it even a little bit on your mind?  Like I would like to kind of close the door and show that the veterans are still the ones ruling this tour?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm not here to prove that or try to show that.  I just want to take care of my business.
As I've said, I played two very young girls that have been playing extremely well and have had a great tournament.
Do I want to give them the chance to go further in the tournament?  Absolutely not.  But not because I want to prove something or show them that they're not the next generation.  They're playing great tennis.
But because I want to be the winner of that particular match.  I want to go further.  No matter if I'm a veteranor ‑‑ I don't care what generation I'm in.  I work too much to just let the match go because they're part of a newer generation.  (Smiling.)

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