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May 28, 2014

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/T. Pironkova
7‑5, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  The conditions weren't easy today.  Tough first set and little by little you find the range?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, that's exactly how I felt, actually.  I think it's always a challenge to go into a match knowing that it's going to be cold and might be a bit windy.  So you have to mentally be prepared for that.
I started off quite cold, wasn't moving my feet enough.  And, yeah, just not really having good rhythm.
Once I got the break back, I started feeling a bit more aggressive and much better about my game, and I was able to hold that until the end of the match.

Q.  Li Na lost.  Serena lost too.  What are your thoughts on the big surprises and consequences for the draw and everything?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I think you always have to follow your path and always concentrate on your work and who's ahead of you and not get worried about what's going on.  Obviously when you go on court you're aware of a lot of the upsets, not just in the women but in the men, as well.
So it's great to get a win in that type of atmosphere.

Q.  Talking about a new generation.  We have Garbine upset Serena and Kristina ousted Li Na and we had Townsend ousted Cornet.  Well, are they really coming, the young girls, or just for the moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Oh, I'm sure they are.  At some point not everyone that's 27 or over 30 years old is going to be playing in, I don't know, five, seven years.  Ultimately that generation and those girls are the ones who are going to be holding Grand Slam trophies.  That's the reality of it.
But, you know, it's a process.  And you realize when you start, I'm kind of in the middle of those generations, have been ‑‑ I started my career, you know, some players have retired since I have been playing and some are still playing.
I'm kind of in the middle of it all and yet I see a whole generation coming up behind me, which is really great to see and it's great for the sport because there is a lot of variety.  Everyone has different games and different appeal.  It's fun to see.

Q.  More challenge or motivation of the new girls coming for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it's just normal that they are coming, because ‑‑I mean, I don't see it any other way.  Of course you're going to have ‑‑I'm in a position of being 27 years old and being on the tour for so many years that of course someone that's 20 or 21 is going to have good results.

Q.  You said you were in the middle, but you had been around for a long time.

Q.  I don't mean that disrespectfully.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Don't worry.  I'm not sensitive (smiling).

Q.  Do any of the younger women coming through come to you to say, How did you cope when you came on the scene and you got a big win and then had to deal with a lot of pressure, a lot of expectation on you?  Did they come and ask you, Maria, how do I go about maximizing my potential?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I have never been approached personally to talk about those types of situations, but I think a lot of players are always aware of what, you know, the generation that is ahead of them has done and what they achieved and how they went through it.
I have always said that when I achieved my success, my biggest success at 17 years old, you know, I thought that I ‑‑it was very tough to lose a match, because it's such a huge victory and you think you're on top of the world, and all of a sudden you're pulled in so many different directions.  You're photographed by Vogue and you have all these incredible opportunities.  You get to wear pretty dresses and Marc Jacobs lent me a dress and it was the biggest deal in my life.  I didn't know what Sports Illustrated, the magazine, was, but I knew who Marc Jacobs was.
It's so many different things that you're able to do.  And at the end of the day, you've got to get back to your roots and what's important, and that's what brought you those things.  That's the tennis.  That's what ultimately makes you happier than anything else.

Q.  Wawrinka and Li say at some point the pressure was too big on them and they couldn't handle it anymore.  You have done this since a long time now.  What's your own way to deal with the expectations from outside?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I have been very lucky, because I have very ‑‑I feel like I have very realistic parents that have been very realistic since the beginning of my career, not just since I won Wimbledon but since we came to the United States as a very young girl.  We never had fear to go back and have a very normal life.  It was okay.  It wasn't going to be a tragedy.
Also in moments in big success, like, Yes, you achieve something big because you worked so hard for it and such a huge moment for you and your family.
But you go home and everyone is still making the coffee at your local shop, everyone is still going about their life.  It's a huge victory, but the world still moves on and you wake up in the morning and you have to go and do your job just like everybody else.
I have always understood that.  And then being injured for a year also taught me a lot of things personally, because I always thought that I'd just be playing tennis every single day.  And then all of a sudden, well, no, sometimes you can't.  Your body won't allow it.  You look at other things, what you like, and what you want to do in the future.  It was a great experience for me.
But having a great team, my parents, you know, my manager, you know, is quite close to me and who has worked with me since I was 10 years old, to have the ability to say no at the right times is also very important.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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