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June 3, 2014

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/G. Muguruza
1‑6, 7‑5, 6‑1

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English.

Q.  You did it again.  But what did you think after that first set loss?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, a few things.  I thought I didn't do much in the first set to hurt her.  She was doing many things well.
I also knew that the match wasn't over.  I still had a fair bit of time to change things around.  You know, little by little I started playing a bit better, started getting in the court a little bit more, playing a little bit more aggressive, serving better than I did in the first set, returning as well, giving myself more looks at break points.
So just a combination of a few things.  It was tough not to win that game at 3‑1.  I think that would have gave me a bit more confidence.  I was a game away from losing it.  I was very happy with the way I came through.

Q.  It can look different from the outside than how you guys are playing it, but where did that match turn for you?  Where do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It's tough to say on this one.  I mean, the first set I just didn't feel like I was giving myself a chance to play out there.  We didn't have many long rallies.  It was just two‑ or three‑ball rallies, and I was late.
I mean, she was playing very aggressive and hitting shots very deep.  I just didn't have much to say to that in the first set.
I think as I started returning better and also serving, I mean, getting first serves in, against an opponent like that who is playing with so much confidence, you can't just keep giving them looks at second serves all the time.  It's just not going to help you in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam.
As easy as that sounds, it's much tougher to do that in that situation.  I was able to do that.  Once I got those break points, once I got the break, even thought she broke back, I started feeling like I was in the match again.

Q.  When we look to your matches against Stosur or Muguruza, especially in second sets, at difficult moments you seem so, like trying to dig the best out of you.  Like what keeps you going?  Is it your desire to win the tournament here or simply the refusal to lose a tennis match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, by winning a particular match.  Today's situation doesn't win me the tournament today, but it brings you a step closer.  I think you're not thinking of very big goals.  You're trying to set smaller goals for yourself, especially in tougher situations where you feel like not much is working for you, your opponent is playing confident tennis, doing so many things well, not making mistakes.  When you just don't feel like anything is going your way, you want to try to find a little door to get into.
Once you do‑‑ I have been there so many times.  I know the feeling that once you get a little bit of that it's much easier to ‑‑it's always that little part that's the toughest.
Once you start feeling, you know, like you got your foot in the door, then it's a little bit easier for yourself.

Q.  5‑All in the second she goes up 30‑Love, and then you reel off two unreturnables and a winner to break there.  It seemed like things really, really turned there.  Were you aware of that being a particularly important point in the match?  What was going on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think there are a lot of important points.  I could say the same things about the forehand that I missed at break point, 3‑1, 30‑40, and it's a big point.  If I lost that match, I would be kicking myself in the bottom for that point.
But of course when your opponent is up 30‑Love and you get that game back, you know, 30‑Love on serve when she's serving quite well, I'm sure she feels like she has a good chance of getting that game in the bag, and all of a sudden I'm serving for the set.

Q.  Asking you about Genie Bouchard, she's come through quite a battle today and she a very ambitious player.  Do you recognize anything of yourself in her and the fighting attitude she seems to have?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I think the younger generation is ambitious.  That's why they are in these stages of the tournament.  I mean, my opponent today has played ‑‑ the level that she's played this tournament was extremely high, as you saw the majority of the match today.
Someone like Eugenie who has been up and coming for a couple of years, I think this is the year where she's really broken through, especially at the Grand Slams, playing at a high level.
Last year was the last time that we faced against each other.  It was the second round, and this year we're in the semifinals.  It's a great stage to be at for both of us.

Q.  Thinking about the evolution of your game on this surface, how much do you think that 2008 shoulder surgery maybe contributed to forcing you to work on things that in the end helped you inadvertently or not on this surface?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  In terms of what?

Q.  In terms of movement, in terms of not relying on your serve as much.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't know.  I think the turning point a little bit for me was when I was playing Justine Henin I don't know how many years before that.  Maybe that was the year before I lost to her in three sets.
I was playing in some of the toughest conditions I played in at the French Open and I won the second set.  I don't know.  I lost that match, but I got off the court realizing that I could win this tournament.  I still had so much work to do.
Of course, when you have a chance to really work on physical aspects of your game and you're able to, you know, maybe spend a bit more time in the gym than you would have when you're playing tournaments or not just on the court, it gives you a good chance to build your leg strength and overall strength, which was important for me.
I could say the same thing.  Everyone was practicing on the court and I wasn't.

Q.  When Garbine beat Serena, she did it quickly; I think in a little over an hour.  Match started off quickly for you losing the first set.  What were you doing to slow it down and change the pace where you could get a foothold and stop her momentum?  How much of that is actually slowing down the match and taking more time between the points to gather yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, apparently it's not, because then you get a warning (smiling).
I think for me it was about a lot of the games in the first set she was always up 30‑Love, 40‑Love, and then I'd win a point or two.  Then she's the one with the confidence.  You never are giving her a chance to think.
In the second set, when you're making her, you know, hit a second ball after her serve or when you're being a bit more aggressive on the second serves, taking a bit more chances, all of a sudden, you know, she's not hitting so freely.
I think that changes a little bit.  But it's a combination of the way you feel and also that little pressure that she begins to feel.

Q.  Somebody tweeted a photo of you looking young teenager with a very small Bouchard.  What is your first memory of when you first crossed her path?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  My first memory?  Probably when she was playing the juniors.  I don't know how many years that was ago.  I think when she received a wildcard into the tournament in Canada, whether it was Toronto or Montreal.  That was probably the first time.

Q.  Did you think she was a prospect then?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I hadn't seen so much of her on TV I think until maybe last year, beginning of last year, and especially when I was getting ready to play her in Miami last year.

Q.  Were you surprised by the way Garbine has been playing whole tournament?  You said about the ambition of the young players, how do you face it?  How do you prepare it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think she has a very good game and has incredible amount of potential to play the way she has in this tournament, and I think this year.  Success just doesn't come overnight for anyone.  It's a long‑term process; you're going to have losses and wins.
It's a big learning experience.  She's certainly playing a lot better than she played last year, but that was only a year ago in Rome I faced her.  It was a pretty easy result for me, and here she's in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam and winning titles.
It takes time to develop your game and your feeling, your confidence.  The experience starts to kick in.  You've been on the tour for a few years so you know what to expect a bit more.  That's definitely showing in a lot of the younger girls.

Q.  Judy Murray just tweeted Sharapova is like a tea bag... 
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Who is that?

Q.  Judy Murray.  Andy's mom.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Okay.  Sorry.  I didn't know who Judy Murray is.

Q.  I will quote:  Sharapova is like a tea bag.  Put her into hot water, and you'll find out how strong she is.  People usually call you a fighter.  How about being a tea bag?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Can you explain that to me?

Q.  You don't drink tea?

Q.  Put the bag in hot water...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm a big tea drinker.  I don't understand what she means.

Q.  Hot water.  In hot water.  Water gets...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  That's great.  She's very creative (smiling).  I guess she could have put it many different ways, and she chose the English version.

Q.  How about it?  Fighter and tea bag?  You can't relate...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it's better to ask her than me.  Obviously she has a better sense of what's going on out there (smiling).

Q.  About Genie Bouchard, do you know her well on the tour?  Nike sponsor?  Not really?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't know her very well personally.  We just did a little shoot together last year at the Australian Open.  Other than that, that was it.

Q.  And then when Serena was out of the tournament earlier, did you feel ‑‑or out of the four semifinalists you're the favorite.  Do you feel that pressure?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I can't think like that.  I've got to follow my road and my path.  When she was out I was still in the second round.  I had to face whoever was across the net.
I can't get way ahead of myself at that point.

Q.  Can you remember the last time you lost a match because you came up a little bit short in the nerves department or because you just didn't go for it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm sure.  I don't remember off the spot right now, but, yeah, of course there are ‑‑it's always a little combination of something.  Whether, you know, it's just a bad day or not, I wasn't able to execute things or you were feeling a bit nervous and your opponent was playing well.
I can't think of a particular match, but I'm sure there are matches that happened like that.

Q.  Four consecutive semifinals here.  How do you assess that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I'm excited and happy to be in that position again.  I have turned my results around.  You know, to have that consistency at this tournament, a tournament that was so difficult for me before, where I always felt like I had to save myself in the beginning of it, to be in this position playing three sets and feeling like I can go out there again and play another match and not have to think about the physical aspect or that I'm tired, that helps a lot, physically and mentally, for me.

Q.  Did you feel more tired on clay than other surfaces in the earlier part of your career after matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  For me the recovery was quite hard.  If I played a three‑set match, it was a drag to play, you know, two or three more.  God forbid you think of the semifinals or something like that.
You always wanted to finish quicker in the beginning of the tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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