Interview with Maria Sharapova after her win
over Christina McHale at the
2009 US Open
Q. Your thoughts on the match,
the way you're playing right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought I, you know, did a good job of
starting off really good, especially not knowing her
game, really how she played. I haven't seen much of her,
if at all. So against those types of opponents, it's just
really important to try to figure it out as fast as you
Once I did, I thought I did the right things. I thought I
moved a little bit better than the other day and got good
Q. Your thoughts on playing
Melanie, the upcoming match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I saw some of the match. I saw the
way Elena played. I thought she could have done a few
things better. Certainly, when Melanie had to step it up,
she certainly did. In the times when she could have made
errors, she came up with some really good shots. I mean,
I've got a tough round ahead of me. Also somebody that
I've never played against before, someone that's going to
come out, and I'm sure she's gonna swing and have nothing
to lose, which she doesn't.
But I'm looking forward to that.
Q. Usually when you play in big
matches, you're everybody's favorite. Tonight was one
example, and maybe the next match will be another example
where you're playing an American, a kid.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that's totally
understandable. We're in New York City. I'm a Russian
playing against a young, up and coming girl that has a
tremendous amount of potential.
I think it would be strange if they weren't rooting for
Q. Does it enter your mind that
it would be really good to try to get this thing over
quickly so the fans don't have something to get excited
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, to be honest, when I'm on the
court, I try to I don't focus on I know there are many
people watching the match, but I have enough experience
to know my surroundings and know where I'm playing. I
don't concentrate on the fact that someone is rooting,
you know, against you or with you.
You obviously feel the energy of the crowd. I think
numerous times that's helped me get through tough
matches. But at the end of the day, it's about being
within yourself, really focusing on, you know, what you
have to do.
I mean, if you think about, Oh, you know, I got to finish
this really fast so the crowd doesn't get into it, I
mean, I think you're going to be screwed really fast,
Q. Christina was saying playing
against you made her learn how far she has to go to
become a champion. Were you ever in that position?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I played Monica Seles in Palm
Springs many years ago. First two games I thought the
played the best tennis in my life. I think I only won one
of those and didn't win a game after that. I came off the
court. I remember telling my parents, I thought I played
so well and the score line is just horrible. Where do I
go from here (laughter)?
You just keep working. I was fortunate to get to play
her. I thought that experience really helped me because I
realized I had a lot of work to do, yeah.
Q. I know it's nice to win
easily, but do you relish the thought of playing a player
who competes very well and fights?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. You mean in my next round?
Q. Is it more fun to know going
in this is not somebody that is going to quit in the
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have to treat every opponent as
someone that's going to go out there and compete. A lot
of it is that in the sport. If you're not a big
competitor, I've always said this game on most occasions
is more mental, how strong you are mentally out there
than physical. It's all about competing and fighting and
knowing that no matter what the score line is, it's not
over until, you know, you're shaking hands.
Q. Do you think athletes are
born that way or do you learn that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's a tough one. I don't know. I
mean, I certainly think life experiences contribute to it
certainly. I mean, if you're young and you're always used
to getting things and everything is brought to you on a
golden plate, then going on when you're older, you
probably feel like all things are going to be brought to
you, and you sometimes forget that you have to work for
I mean, my parents set a really good example as a child
that you have to work for every single thing that you
have in your life. That's what I really admired in my
parents, is that they always taught me it's so hard to
earn something and gain something. We're not just talking
about money. I mean, in life in general. And it's so easy
for it to go away and to lose it.
Q. Obviously you were a very
different kind of 17 year old player. You were at a
different level than she is now. If you don't have that
fighting spirit by 17, is it all over? Can you learn it
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think so. I mean, I think a lot
of it also has to do with belief. If you learn from your
past experiences or if you felt like you were a little
soft in certain matches, you know, maybe in the next
opportunity you get against I don't know a top player, a
match you should have won, then you try to change that,
and you try to change your attitude.
I think it's almost always disappointing to see players
get down on themselves. I mean, I've had my moments in my
career, as well. And sometimes when you're in the moment,
you want to let your emotions go. But I think it's just
such a strong aspect in somebody's game and life when
they're just tough.
Q. I know you have strong
connection to the States, but you're a Russian. Is it
good to see an American woman player coming up?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. I think it's funny. Every
Grand Slam you go to, you know, when you're in London,
How is the LTA doing? When you're in America, How is the
USTA doing? I mean, you certainly see a great amount of
talent coming up. I think it's great. Not only do you
have that; you also have Venus and Serena who are 2 or 3
in the world. I think they're doing pretty good.
Q. How is your serve doing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought I served pretty good tonight.
You know, I was trying to go for bigger serves tonight
and try to get my percentage up a little bit. But it
still wasn't as high as I wanted it.
But, you know, I think the goal is to keep going after
the serve. I did a good job of that, especially on the
Q. What is it like to walk out
on Arthur Ashe at night for the first time? I don't
remember if you remember your first time.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Actually, I think my first time was
a doubles mixed or doubles match. I don't remember what
Q. The first singles match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that's a little bit different.
I actually don't remember what that was. But it's one of
those just really cool experiences that you can't really
explain until you actually get the opportunity to do.
It's like asking, How do you feel when you hold up a
Grand Slam trophy? You say it feels amazing, but I don't
think words can really describe it.
You know, as a tennis player, even if it's not a final,
even if it's just a first or second round, walking
through the tunnel where you know so many legends have
walked through, walked away from the court holding these
incredible trophies, to be able to walk that same path is
Q. Elena said she might have
been overplayed this summer. She didn't feel particularly
motivated going on court. When you're feeling a little
flat, how do you push yourself through?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I'm a little bit different
because I started the season later. You know, I mean, I'm
more than happy to be playing tournaments and playing
matches. Obviously it's not easy. I mean, it's a good
thing to be getting to the later stages of a tournament
result wise. But it also takes a lot out of you,
especially with the one week tournaments, and in my case
not having byes in those weeks.
But, I mean, that's the schedule. You know, that's what
it is. You just try the good thing is you have a week,
unless you're playing New Haven, you have that week to
recoup, recover, get ready. It's the last slam of the
Q. I know you take things one at
a time. The way you've been playing, when you see a
couple key people in your side go down, you now have to
consider yourself a real contender for this tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just because other people are
struggling doesn't make me a bigger contender. I'm a
contender when I'm in the draw. That's the way I look at
it. I play one match at a time. I have a certain opponent
that I have to face on a daily basis. You just go about
I mean, other people's struggles don't make my draw or
anything else in my path to a Grand Slam easier.
Q. Then let me ask you this:
With the way you're playing, where would you put
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I certainly think I'm playing a
lot better than I was when I first got back. You know, I
feel like the belief in the game, the confidence is
coming back. I think the one thing that I learned is, you
know, when you find yourself in the middle of the match,
you kind of I don't know, your shot selection goes well,
went haywire. And I think I've been able to get that
That was the beauty of playing so many matches this
summer, is I really felt like when every match, I learned
from each situation. I was down, I was up. I had some
easy matches, I had three setters. I played some good
players. That's certainly going to help me if not here,
then for the future, for next year.
Q. In Chile the producer of the
exhibition is going to play in December. What do you
think about that match, your visit in Chile?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not sure that it's 100% confirmed.
But if it will be, it's pretty close, but if it will be,
I'm very excited, because I'm going to have a longer off
season, so I'm actually happy that I'll be able I'll
probably be practicing in Florida. To be able to make
that flight down and go to parts of the world that I've
never been to and play against Gisela, after she beat me,
you know, get some good matches against her, will be
Q. Any time you talk with
Bollettieri with Marcelo Rios, is there something you
know about Chile?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The only thing I remember is taking
a picture with him, watching him practice. He was really
talented. He was actually my father's favorite male
player at the time.
Q. Nice pick.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Same attitude and everything.
Q. As an L.A. resident, your
thoughts on the tournament moving to San Diego.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it moving?
Q. Yes. To La Costa.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I love La Costa, as well. I'd be happy
to go there as well. The location of the tournament is
great in San Diego.
Q. Weird not to have a woman's
tournament in L.A.?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but I think one of the pitfalls
that we had was that it was all the way in Carson. I
think for the tennis fans that are in the sort of West
Hollywood, Beverly Hills area, didn't have much
enthusiasm to make an hour or hour and a half drive in
I mean, I'm sure the crowds will be great in San Diego.
So I'm looking forward to it.
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Interview with Maria Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova will play tomorrow night at
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Maria Sharapova moves on the final of the
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