interview after her win over Alla Kudryavtseva at the
LONDON--(LadyDragon.com)21/06/11--Q. How did it feel to be back
on the grass?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was great to be back on Centre
Court, considering that I didn't play a warmup
tournament. I felt like I had to be ready from the first
point. I played against an opponent that's been in the
top 10 before. Hasn't had the best results this year. But
you don't quite know what to expect. I'm sure, you know,
she'd come out in the match and have nothing to lose. I
thought she played a really good match, and I really had
to step it up. I thought I did a good job of that.
Q. It was all
Russian once again. In the past you've talked about
Russian tennis. You've said there's not too many
alternatives. Also talk about some of the other elements,
the toughness of the culture, the roles of Kournikova,
Yeltsin, the Olympics, if you would.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's a really big country, full of
incredible culture, and many great athletes have come
from the country, not just from the sport of tennis.
We're very fortunate because I think we were given the
drive from our parents. That really encouraged us and
sacrificed a lot in our careers to get us to a point
where we want to be in our certain careers. I think we
have to thank them for that. Because when you're at a
young age, everything is in their hands from the drives
to the practices to the encouragement on bad days. Yeah,
in the beginning it was a lot about the Olympic sports
and hockey, in the beginning of my life, and gymnastics,
rhythmic gymnastics. Now tennis is one of the biggest
Q. Obviously your
father is an incredible man. Comes to America, puts you
on a bicycle taking you to the tennis lessons. How does
he express the Russian culture with that determination?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I
just think he never really believed that he didn't have
much. I think coming from a place where that amount of
money didn't exactly mean that you were poor. We were
living as a normal family. They could have had a normal
job and I could have gone to school and they would have
supplied my school and everything around that. But they
sacrificed their lives because they saw a talent in my
game and they got recommendations from outer people,
because it certainly wasn't my parents' expertise, the
sort of tennis. It was just a fun activity for my dad,
and my mom couldn't really care less about it. They made
that big decision to go to a country where tennis was a
lot bigger, more facilities. It's tough. But I think his
drive came from the fact that he never really thought
that he didn't have much. Even though it was really
tough, I think he kept believing that one day he would
have more, even if it was one trophy, even if it was one
more dollar, one victory over another, yeah.
yourself, so many years in L.A., do you feel more like a
Russian than an American internally?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just have always had the Russian
feeling inside of me. There was a point in my career
where I got a lot of questions living in the United
States for such a long time, leaving when I was young
from my country, why I never chose to change
citizenships. One of the reasons is 'cause deep down
inside of me, I know where I'm born. I'm really proud of
it, of my Siberian roots, moving to Sochi. Apart from my
parents, all my family lives there. It's all about
Russian culture. We speak Russian. We talk Russian. I
talk to my grandparents constantly. I call them. I speak
to my parents in Russian, eat Russian food, all of that.
I leave my house, and most of my friends some of foreign,
some are American. I speak to my coaches in English. It's
Q. You've talked
about how you feel that everything is more meaningful to
you now after coming back from your injury. How important
is it to you at this point to win another Grand Slam?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course it's important. It would be a
wonderful achievement. But I'm really happy to be playing
something that I really love. I don't look ahead and
think how amazing it would be to hold the trophy.
Obviously I'm very fortunate to have had that feeling
before and knowing how good that feeling is. That's what
drives you deep down inside. But I also think on the
other hand if you want something so bad that you can't
sleep over it, where is that going to get you, as well? I
think time will tell and you just have to be patient and
work as hard as you can and give it all you have, and
then the rest will take care of itself.
Q. You said you
spoke Russian, ate Russian food.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's a character that I feel is inside
of me. There is I think something natural about it, and
it's within me. I don't think it's something that you can
really explain, that you can put into someone. I think
it's more of a feeling than anything else.