Maria Sharapova Interview - US Open, Aug 31Posted on August 31, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What happened out there tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I won the match in three.
Q. What were you thinking in between sets during changeovers, especially after the first set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she came out today and really swung and didn't give me much time to do anything out there. She served really well in the first set. I wasn't returning that well, giving her a lot of looks, you know, on second serves. Against a player like that, who kind of plays the 1 2 punch type of tennis, you know, it's quite difficult to get a rhythm in the beginning. You know, I just hung in there. Between the first and second set, I knew that it wasn't over. In tennis you have either two or three sets to play. So I still knew I had my chances.
Q. She was really attacking the ball through the entire match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Could be very troublesome serving. What goes through your mind when you toss the ball up to serve these days? Trying to think of some sort of image that I could describe as you're staring down a break opportunity for her, she's swinging at the ball, you hit some great second serves in the match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You're making this a little way too dramatic for what it was. It's like a Shakespeare poem. No, you focus on what you need to do. You think of the patterns. You think of where you're gonna serve, things like that. I mean, it's not really complicated. You just have to do it.
Q. Do you feel like you're playing well enough right now to win the Open, or do you feel like you need to play your way into that kind of form still?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, based on, you know, my results in the past, I've been in different situations coming into a Grand Slam playing really well in the beginning, playing well throughout, or starting quite slow and then finding my game throughout. So it depends. It really depends on the tournament, the situation, your opponent, really getting through matches. Days like this where your opponent was playing really well, you really have to find, you know, ways to hang in there and ways to fight. And at the end of the day, just hope you give yourself another opportunity.
Q. Which way do you prefer? Do you like to start out slow and finish fast or be fast the whole time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I don't think there's a perfect scenario. I don't think anyone, uhm, has a perfect Grand Slam. Everyone has their ups and downs and everyone's going to be put in situations, tough situations, where they're going to come through. Even being up isn't necessarily the easiest thing. Doing the right things to win every match is tough. That's the tough part about tennis is you have to be out there for two weeks, seven matches in a Grand Slam environment, and you have to come up with the goods when it really matters.
Q. Four years ago you won. You had the problems with surgery. Does it make you feel, hey, I'm back to where I had success?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's always good to come to a place where, you know, you've lifted the trophy, you've had great memories. Even though in the couple last years I haven't had the best results, even the year that I won, all that is past. This is a new year. It's a new match. You go out there. It's a new opponent. You're just trying to get the win.
Q. Are you glad Serena is not here or would you like her to be here to have the best here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, obviously it's always a shame when the No. 1 player in the world is not in the draw. But the tournament still goes on. You still have to beat a lot of tough players in order to win the tournament.
Q. Somebody said you saw her foot the other night. Did she show you her injury?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I saw her during the Nike event that we did, yeah. She was in a boot.
Q. What's it like? How bad does the laceration look? Did you actually see the laceration?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No.
Q. What are your thoughts of the effectiveness of the Hawk Eye system? If there were anything you'd like to change about it, what would you like to change?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's been great for the game, great for the fans. The human eye is imperfect. I think it's really a great way to change a few things around in a match. Obviously, I think if a player runs out of the challenges and it's towards the end of the match, I think maybe we should have an opportunity to have a few more, especially if the umpire is not quite sure of the call. As it is right now, it's only three, I believe. We also know if we're going to have more, then everyone is going to challenge quite easily even if they know the ball is in or out, so...
Q. How much more confidence do you feel in your serve today than you did when we saw you last at the US Open?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, last year with my whole game, I was just trying to find, you know, where my feet were on the ground, just trying to find my position, see how I could handle playing a lot of matches under different circumstances. You know, this year, you know, a whole year with the tournaments and experience, it feels really good to be healthy coming in, just playing and not worrying about, uhm, how physically you feel.
Q. How would you rate the status of your service game now? Are you confident in it? Still have a ways to go?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, you know, on this particular day, I think my percentage was quite low today, but I think I did a really good job of hitting some great second serves when I needed to. You know, especially in the third set, I wasn't getting too many first serves in. But, you know, I hurt her from my second serve. I probably could say that that was one of the shots that won me the match today. You know, every day's different. The conditions might be different. Sometimes you're playing in Europe where everything's pretty cool, the balls are heavy, so things are not swinging through the air as much. You might feel a little drawn back from what you're used to. But overall I feel good.
Q. The other day John McEnroe made some strong comments about women, the women's tour, the schedule. Could you tell us what your thoughts were on his point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not sure what he said, so...
Q. He said basically women were not strong enough to play the full schedule and should have a shorter schedule than the men because they were not strong enough.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think every individual is different. You know, I've always played a certain amount of tournaments throughout my career. It's always been around a Grand Slam. I think your tournaments are a personal choice. I think, you know, before we had to play I believe maybe it was 14 tournaments as a requirement. Now it's only 10. So if you play those 10 and you play the Grand Slams, we don't really have to make a commitment to play any more than that. It's a personal choice of how many we play. I think I only played nine or ten this year. So it's a personal decision. I think, you know, if only everyone could come and join us in our off seasons and when we practice, how much we work, how many hours we spend on the court in training, getting our bodies ready to be where they are.
Q. So you're saying there's a kind of core strength with the women athletes on the tour to sustain them through the schedule, that the women have a core strength as athletes to carry them through the schedule that they face each year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like I said, it's an individual choice about your scheduling. And I think we have a pretty good rule in place of how many events we have to play. Based on that, after that, it's a personal decision. Everyone's body is different. Some girls like to play many events during the year, 25, something like that. I personally don't. I'm not physically ready for that, and I never have been throughout my career. I always try to gear up around the Grand Slams since those are quite important ones.
Q. How do you feel about the way you played today? How do you come out of that match? Happy? Satisfied? Worried?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, at the end of the day, even though I know I wasn't playing my best tennis, I know I came out with a win. And sometimes it's more important than anything because you're giving yourself a chance to go out on the practice court tomorrow. You're giving yourself a chance to play another match and to get better, you know, maybe work on the things that today weren't working that well for you. Like I said in the beginning, it was tough to figure many things out because, you know, there weren't many rallies in the games. It was two or three balls where the point was over.
Q. Is there anything you take, being a Grand Slam champion, that is most important in your head about knowing how to win seven matches in a major that's maybe an advantage over girls who haven't done that before?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, sure, experience helps. But, I don't know, it's really at the end of the day about going out there and doing it and finding the mental strength, the physical strength, you know, challenging yourself to go out there and be better every day.
Q. Did you see Roger Federer's trick shot last night? If so, what are your thoughts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't see it, no.
Q. Have you seen his video on the Internet where he serves a can off somebody's head?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I really haven't. I don't spend much time there.
Q. Will we see you trying a between the leg shot anytime soon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, you don't want to see me attempt that. Not pretty.