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June 1, 2014

Maria Sharapova


3‑6, 6‑4, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  You get a warning because of time; you didn't look back.  It was a turning point or your character in general?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think I ended up losing the next six points, but besides that, it was okay.
Yeah, I lost two points after that, I think, to get broken, so it wasn't‑‑ I don't think it had anything to do with it, but I can use that as an excuse if I want to.
But I shouldn't probably.

Q.  What a comeback.  How did you manage to get through?  In the second you had the break and you lost it and you come back.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I thought Sam played a really good first set.  With all that said, I had five break points and I didn't convert one of them.
Against a player that's a very good server that uses her serve as a weapon to set up points, you don't take advantage of those particular moments and she gains a lot of confidence from that and swings and keeps serving well.
So I didn't feel like I was really putting any pressure on that.  Maybe not taking enough chances and not really going for it in those particular moments, which gave her the opportunity to keep doing that and playing with confidence.
Yeah, it was unfortunate that I gave that break back in the second set, because I thought I had a good start.  But overall, I'm happy with the way I finished.  I think that's, you know, the most important thing for me.

Q.  Did you feel that if you just sort of hung, kept with her in the second set?  It was obviously both of you were having close games, and that at some point you would get that opportunity.  And then it came.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah.  Well, I felt like I had opportunities.  I had opportunities in the second game.  I had opportunities to get a break back at 3‑4, I believe, in the second, and we had some really good points.
I just didn't win them.  That was the bottom line.  You know, you can talk about all this and that, but when you don't make your opponent think a little bit out there, it can be quite tricky.
So I was happy with the way I was able to change things around, I guess.

Q.  On that subject, the questions that she asked were very different, but it seems to me from almost 99% of the other players out there, or is it kind of like a puzzle you crack as you go through the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I think she has a great game for this surface, and I think she's proven that over the years.  She uses her quick serve extremely well to start and set up the point.
The slice, especially in the conditions that we played in tonight, it was very effective.  It stays very low.  I didn't feel like I was getting as much pop on the ball as maybe what I had in Madrid where I was able to hurt her a little bit more.
But with that said, I still was able to win nine games in a row.  So, you know, I'm quite pleased about that.

Q.  A lot of emotion there in the third set.  At the end you were running through that.  What was that all about?  For a fourth‑round match, seemed like a lot of energy.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Why wouldn't there be?  I'm in a Grand Slam fourth round.  I lost in the fourth round in Australian Open.  I lost the first set playing an opponent that's played a great tournament so far.
There is no reason why I should be walking around with my head down.

Q.  Do you think you're a merciless competitor?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I'm not sure.  I love competing.  That's one of the best parts of the sport.  Gives me the greatest pleasure,  and I don't think anything else in life can give me that.  I'm using that to my advantage while I can.

Q.  When you're going through that sort of run to finish off the match, are you able to enjoy the match?  Are you like having fun, or are you just focused on the task at hand?  Emotionally how are you feeling?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, you're never quite satisfied until you finish the match.  In the moment always of course you enjoy the battle, but you always want it to end on a good note and good way.
Of course, you're fighting out there doing everything you can to win the match.  If you come off as the one that lost, it's tough to say you had a good time toughing it out or whatever it was.
But looking back on those matches, you always have fun in those situations, because that's ‑‑ you know, that's the tennis that you want to produce when your opponent is playing good tennis or you set certain expectations for yourself and you meet them.
There are so many things going through your head, so many situations, ups and downs throughout a match.  When you're able to execute them and finish the day on a positive note, it's always exciting.

Q.  You would have played Serena in this round.  You get Muguruza next.  You said last press conference you thought it was fair to be considered the favorite at this point.  How do you see the rest of the tournament going for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't want to talk about after that because I'm not in that position yet.  I just finished my fourth round just an hour ago, and then the next one I have is an opponent that's had, you know, one of her best slam runs so far and someone that we have heard about for a couple of years, up and coming.
This is certainly her breakthrough tournament, and she's playing with all the confidence.  That's going to be a challenge for me.  But that's what I love about this game.

Q.  How does a tournament change for you when Serena loses?  She's been a huge roadblock for you, obviously.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I know when the draw comes out I think that's pretty much your job is to discuss the favorites and to discuss the matchups and what will happen and what may not.
But our job is to play the opponent that we're facing on that particular day.  That's how I look at things.  I don't get too far ahead of myself.
My opponent is Muguruza, and she's playing a great tournament.  That's what I'm looking at.  I'm not looking at anything else, even though I'm very well aware of other matches.
I'm not afraid to look at other matches or the draw.  I have never been that type of player.

Q.  Novak was here right before you, he was asked about your friendship.  He said there were two Marias, the one on the court and the one off the court.  Maybe people don't realize how you're different, how different you are off court.  Do you feel like this, that there are two Marias?  It's a conscious effort to compartmentalize like this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I treat my career and my work as a very serious profession, and I know that what has got me my success is the fact that I'm a big competitor and that I don't want to give anyone a chance.  I was never here from day one to make friendships.  This is a battlefield for me, and I want to win.
I think you see that passion when I'm on the court.  That's my job.  That's how I feel.  I try to tough it out.  I try to grind it out, whatever it takes.  Sometimes it's not very pretty, but at the end of the day, if I get the job done, I'm happy.
When I'm away from the courts it's a very different story, even though I'm very competitive and I don't like to lose in many things.  Yeah, I'm certainly not like that as I am on the court.

Q.  Your relationship with the clay has evolved over the years.  Champion, finalist, now quarterfinalist, maybe more.  How would you describe that relationship now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  My relationship started out slow.  It was very ugly in the beginning.  It was a big learning process for me, and I took it upon myself to get better, to physically improve, because I figured I'd have no chance if I ever wanted to achieve something on this.
I didn't want to be a player ‑‑ like I saw some examples of players just coming here, and if they won a first round or if they saw a name in the first round and it said Spain or Argentina next to that name, they knew they didn't have a chance.
I didn't want to be that player.  I knew that Wimbledon was my goal always, and it was a tournament I always looked forward to.  But when I was at the French Open I was there to play the French Open.
With that said, I needed to do a lot of things to improve, and I think little by little I tried to make that transition.

Q.  When is the Terre Battue Sugarpova flavor coming out?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Soon (Laughter.)
Q.When you mentioned the Spain or Argentina thing, that's an American perspective on clay a lot of times.  At least American men, especially, have seen that.  Do you feel since you were trained largely in Florida you had some of those American biases against clay or same sort of approach a lot of Americans have more than ‑‑ I guess usually Russians don't hate the surface?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I never hated the surface.  I was just not ‑‑I was just never a great mover on it.  It wasn't I hated it.  I thought I learned a lot, and I just didn't think it was very pretty most of the time.  I wanted to get better at it, but I didn't grow up on it.
Of course there are a lot of ITF and junior tournaments were mostly on clay, but in terms of just where I trained and in Florida or California, it was always on hard court.

Q.  At 4‑All in the second, Sam spiked the ball, I don't know if you saw, after she lost the first point of that game, seemed a little bit rattled.  How do you sort of sense blood in the water in these situations when you can pounce?  You didn't drop a game after that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, there are so many emotions you go through in a match, and then there are always moments where you feel a bit of a momentum change.  I think you feel a lot more as a player than maybe a spectator, just because sometimes when I watch tennis and I know it's a really important point and someone there is like eating strawberries and cream and just like, it's not really on.
Do you guys realize what an important point this is?  Even if it's 15‑all, unless it's break point, they don't really get excited.  You always feel momentum changes as a player.  When it's 4‑All and you're down a set and you start the game off with Love‑15.  I mean, it's better than 15‑Love.

Q.  You said something about not being here to make friends.  Genie Bouchard said almost the same thing today.  Do you sense she models herself after that?  Players grew up watching you and how you handled yourself on the tour.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It wasn't something I was aware of or that I am.  It wasn't like somebody told me to be a certain way.  It's just the way that I was.  I just do my job, you know.  I practice, or I, you know, I play my match.  You know, I'm in the locker room.  I change.  I go home.
You know, it's not really my social hub, I'd say.  I don't know how else to say it.  I have known her for a couple of years.  I remember she asked Nike if she could wear my collection, which is an honor, and of course I agreed.
I had followed her in the juniors a bit, and I followed her career.  I thought that she'd be a great player one day, and a few years later here she is in the final and still wearing my collection.  So it's fun.

Q.  I tasted your Sugarpova...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Is this the longest press conference ever, or is it just my imagination?

Q.  I tasted your gluten free...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Most of them are.

Q.  Did you know that Djokovic, did he have anything to do with that, or is it very important for you, health and nutrition?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I'm not really sure how to answer that, considering it has a lot of sugar in it and it's called Sugarpova.
But since it's gluten free and Novak can eat it, so, yeah, it's a good combo.  He likes it.  He approved.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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