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Thursday June 24, 2010

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Maria Sharapova Interview

Wimbledon 2010

Q. You seemed quite aggressive from the start today. Was that part of the game plan?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was. Then I kind of backed up, let her back in the match literally. You know, I did a really good job of that from the beginning. Definitely, you know, when I do that, I feel really good about my game. I just kind of stopped in the middle of the second set and let her back in.

But, fortunately, I was able to get that break back.

Q. I know it isn't exactly the women's case, but how do you feel about those guys playing more than 200 games maybe? You think it should be decided by a tiebreaker?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I'd be checking myself into the local hospital at that point (smiling). It's pretty incredible what they've done. I think at this point maybe the rules will be changed at a certain point you're going to have to play a tiebreaker.

It's an amazing effort at that point in the match to come out and to be able to hit such powerful strokes and serves and just keep doing it over and over. But over a certain period of time, I think it takes a toll on your body mentally and physically.

I mean, probably the rule will change, but you never know.

Q. If you ended up playing to 20 all...

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which would never happen, probably (laughter).

Q. If you had a different shoulder and the match went on that long, would you want a tiebreaker or do you think you're just going to play forever, this is how it goes?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've personally never been in that position, so it's tough for me to say.

But I think after playing for nine hours, you'd want to settle it with a tiebreaker.

Q. Even when you were growing up and practicing, what kind of would be the longest you played tennis continuously, comparing it to the two guys on court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, they've played way beyond whatever I've practiced or combined three or four days that I'm still not at nine hours (laughter).

I mean, it's heroic. What can you say? It's pretty incredible. To still have to go out there and know that the match is not finished, it could still go on for another 20, 40 games. I don't know.

Q. Are you completely fit now in your own mind? Are you absolutely sure you're fit? How much has it taken for you to get back to that position?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's pretty tough to always say you're fit and you feel great. I mean, we're professional athletes. We don't wake up in the morning and say, Everything feels perfect. Maybe when we're very young. But at this point in our careers, when we play tennis on a daily basis, we practice, we go play matches, it's impossible to feel fit. That's the way it goes.

I mean, as far as physically and fitness wise, yeah, I feel really good.

Q. I was thinking more of the surgery you had.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, like I said in my previous interviews, it feels a lot better than I did last year when I was sitting here.

Q. When the ball's bouncing close to the baseline around the brown spots, are you starting to get bad bounces?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just a few. Just a few. But that's normal. It's to be expected. When we're practicing at Aorangi, the courts are pretty chewed up. We're used to that.

Q. Do you feel the courts are playing fairly fast because of the weather?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: The weather's certainly helping them. When I played on the championship courts a few days ago just as practice before the tournament started, they were playing pretty slow. But it was kind of cloudy, not as warm. So that's helping, for sure.

Q. There was a point in the second game of the second set where your opponent went to the replay. It showed that your shot landed a good foot inside the baseline. She seemed to clearly think that either the technology was malfunctioned or had shown the wrong replay. What was your view of that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was pretty positive that that ball was in. I challenged it right away before I even hit it. I knew it was going in. The lines judge called it out after she hit the ball. So I'm not even sure if she was clear on her thoughts because my opponent had already hit the ball and then had her long, then she called it.
But I knew that my ball was in.

Q. Do you generally trust the system a hundred percent?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. That's why it's in place.

Q. Given the severity of your injury, the difficulty of the comeback from that type of injury, how much do you think about a possible future without tennis? What options did you think about for the future?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, I've set up myself pretty well for things that I can do after my tennis career. But that never really crossed my mind 'cause I was always gearing up to get back. You know, I've been fortunate to do, uhm, and to work with different people in different industries that have really made my life interesting and fun and creative. Fashion and things like that.
Uhm, I would certainly explore that after my career.

Q. How special does it feel to reach the third round, given what's happened to you over the last couple of years here?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I knew that coming into this match that last year, uhm, I was on the plane the next day after I lost. So, uhm, I really thought about it, especially towards the end of the match. I was really excited to get through.

Q. Perhaps you didn't have a chance to see the Queen because you were playing, but what do you think of the visit?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's wonderful and so great for our sport that she was able to, you know, take some time from her really busy schedule and come out and just be a part of Wimbledon, the tradition that we feel to be a part of on a yearly basis.

To see her here and support it was great. I didn't get the opportunity to meet her. Had a match to play. But, I mean, I'm sure I'll see highlights of her watching the match and it will be pretty cool to see.

Q. What do you think the importance of that Isner match is to the sport? What effect do you think it will have?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's amazing what they've done. I think they've created some crazy news around the world, which is great for the sport. Even for people that don't have any interest in tennis, you know, I think they read about it and see it and think how amazing it is. It's wonderful for our sport.

Q. Putting yourself aside, it hasn't been a great year for Russian women. Can you put your finger on it at all or do you think things tend to be cyclical?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: We've been really fortunate with our results over the years. To have so many girls in the top 10. To not have as many as we're used to, I mean, is maybe a bit of a surprise.
But that's the way it goes. Hopefully that will be changed soon.




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