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January 25, 2012

Maria Sharapova


M. SHARAPOVA/E. Makarova
6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Pretty commanding performance.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it was solid today.  You know, I thought she was going to play really well today coming off a big win, probably her biggest in her career.  It was just really important for me to not give her much of a look at the open court.
You know, I just really wanted to take advantage of my game and improve from the previous match.  I think I stepped up when I had to.

Q.  A bit of impatience and excitement to put it away at the end?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Of course.  It's a big stage.  I played well throughout the match.  Obviously it went back and forth.  She got a lot of balls back.
But it was great to finish it.

Q.  How do you feel going up against Kvitova in the next match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It will certainly be tough.  I've lost to her the last couple of times ‑ obviously the big one in Wimbledon where she played really well.
I think she's the one to beat right now, playing the best tennis in her career.  Coming off of so many wins last year, I'm looking forward to the matchup.  I don't like losing so many times in a row.  So I'll certainly be going out there and trying to play my best.

Q.  Out of that Wimbledon final, what do you take from that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, she played quite deep and hard, served extremely well.  The chances that I had, she just came up with better shots in that match.  She was certainly the better player.
Yeah, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow and see how that goes.

Q.  I guess before playing your match you didn't have the time to watch the other match.  Did you see little pieces of that and what was your impression of both Errani and Kvitova in that match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I did get a chance to watch a little bit.  Very different styles of play.  Errani is someone that moves extremely well, gets a lot of balls back, mixes up the pace, whereas I think Petra kind of dominates more with her pace.  I think in the end that's what hurt her opponent today.
Yeah, she obviously played the better match today.

Q.  How is your fitness?  Do you feel confident in your body, being able to get around the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, good.  I came in here without any matches.  Taking some extra time to just practice, get physically a hundred percent.  So I think that was really important for me.
But obviously when you do that, you also take the chance of coming in a little bit rusty, not knowing how things will go, where your game is.  But I'm very happy to be at this stage.

Q.  Roger Federer said yesterday he was quite surprised to see how intense the women are during their matches, a lot of fist pumping.  You've always done a bit of that.  Do you sense that the women are expressing themselves a bit more or is that an indication of how competitive it is at the moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think I can only speak for myself in terms of how I feel on the court.  I've always been a big competitor.  I treat every opponent with respect.  I know my opponent can play good tennis.  So I try to be tough with every point that comes, no matter if it's easy or hard.
I certainly fight, give it my all till the end, yeah.

Q.  What is your reaction to the fact that Errani is only 10 days younger than you and they say is a newcomer, and you're not a newcomer?  They almost call you a veteran.  Two different ways to be 24 years old.  How do you see it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I always say that everyone achieves different things at different times in their career.  Everyone has a different path to their success.  Everyone has a different path in their careers.  Not one person is the same.  Everyone is different.  Some people start playing tennis later.  Some become professional later.  Some play juniors, some don't.
I mean, it doesn't really matter.  I think it's maybe more of a story in a way.  I mean, I personally have taken the only route I've known, and I guess everyone else has their own ways of developing and achieving this and that in different ages, yeah.

Q.  I remember a few years ago you said you didn't see yourself able to play until 30 years old or so.  Have you changed your mind?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don't think I ever said 30.  I think when I was 18, I probably would have said 25 (laughter).  But things change.
Yeah, I'm sure when I was 17 years old and someone said, You'll be playing for another eight years, it would be like, Yeah, really, you're not going to see me at a press conference at 25 years old.
But years go on.  I missed a year in my career.  I didn't play that year.  I've said this, just before the tournament, a few weeks before, I woke up and I was jut so happy to be going back on the court.  I felt so fresh, full of energy, just with a really good perspective.
Times change, obviously.  I see myself playing this sport for many more years because it's something that gives me the most pleasure in my life.  I think it helps when you know you're good at something, and you can always improve it.  It obviously helps with the encouragement.

Q.  Jimmy Connors stopped at 40 years old.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I can guarantee right now you're not going to see me here at 40 years old.  If I'm here at 40 years old, I have major problems (laughter).  Oh, goodness.

Q.  Physically how do you feel compared to Wimbledon coming into this match against Petra?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, we're playing on a different court.  Obviously, the grass is different.  The ball stays a lot lower.  Here the conditions are a lot slower than a grass court.  Very difficult to compare.  The points are a lot quicker on a grass court than they would be.  I'm sure even if you're playing the same opponent, they're going to be a bit longer here than on grass.
It's tough to compare physically how you feel.  But movement‑wise I feel really good.

Q.  A bunch of players this week have made comments talking about how they think the noise that you and Azarenka in particular make is excessive.

Q.  Radwanska was one player that said she thinks the noise you and Azarenka make is excessive and she'd like to see the WTA change the rules to prohibit that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Isn't she back in Poland already?

Q.  Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  When did she get a chance to say that?

Q.  After she lost her quarterfinal.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  She lost the match?

Q.  Yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  You've sure obviously asked me this question before.  I've heard it a few times over my career.  You've watched me grow up, you've watched me play tennis.  I've been the same over the course of my career.  No one important enough has told me to change or do something different.
I've answered it many times before.  I'm sure I'll answer it many more times ahead.  I'm okay with that.

Q.  If there was a rule change, how do you think it would affect you if you had to stop?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Right now there is no rule change.  I don't hear that there will be one, so it doesn't really matter what my answer would be, would it?

Q.  With the No.1 spot up for grabs this week, how much of a motivation is that for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It is.  But I think I've been fortunate enough to be in that position before.  I think the girls that are trying to get that position haven't been in that position before.  It's a little bit different because I feel like I've experienced both things in my career:  winning Grand Slams and being No.1 in the world.  You can't compare the two.
I try to improve in order to win Grand Slams.  That's my goal.  The more Grand Slams you win, the better your ranking is going to be, yeah.

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