Q. Can I ask you your thoughts on the court when you were hitting up obviously and that delay happened and it looked to be a bubble and it was fairly comical. What were your thoughts?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe it was comical to you. Wasn’t really comical to us. We warmed up and had to sit and wait for a while. I was the first one to notice it because I went to the umpire for the coin toss and I noticed there was something under my left shoe. I know I have a lot of foam in the heel but I thought they added some padding or something in there. All of a sudden I looked down and there was a pretty big bubble there. I mentioned it to the umpire and she said she would make a call.
Q. So it was actually your foot pressure? You didn’t see a ball bounce fair or do anything…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it was my foot. I thought for a second it was my shoe for a few seconds.
Q. Were you amazed when they did that ball test and it didn’t come back at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think you’re making a bigger deal than it was. They took care of it pretty fast.
Q. It didn’t disrupt you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No.
Q. The match was very tight and entertaining.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thank you.
Q. What were your thoughts on the game? How did you view your performance?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I wasn’t really happy with the first set, especially being up a break. I played a really sloppy game on my serve up 3 2 in the first set. You know, it’s not really the right way to break and then go out and have that type of game. I think I lost 40 Love or 40 15. Just made too many errors.
Then she gained all the confidence in the world, and I didn’t play well at all throughout the first set, even though I was up a break.
Most important thing is I fought for my chances. I stepped it up and started hitting a little bit deeper. Some of my balls were going short in the first set and kind of went down on my tension a little bit.
Q. Did she surprise you at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not at all. She’s the type of opponent that can go out and swing pretty freely. She has pretty big strokes and a good first serve. When things are going smooth, I mean it seemed like she can hit a winner from every part of the court.
I don’t think I let her play enough or made her didn’t hit good enough shots for her everything was really slow and close to the service line.
Q. Looking further into the tournament, is this game today a good one for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s great. Like I said after the second round, it’s good for me to have a tough match where I was put in a situation being down in the first set and also in the second set where I was up and we had those really tough games where I had to pull it out and find a way to win, even though my opponent was playing really well in those moments.
Today was a little bit the same thing, a little more up and down. You know, just unable to, like I said, convert that break. Yeah, but overall the most important thing is that I fought really well today and I found a way to play better.
Q. Outside of the fight, are you happy the way you’re striking the ball?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: As the match went on, I felt a lot better. Like I said, in the first set I think I was way too tentative and the balls were landing short. Went a little bit up in my tension because the weather was pretty warm during the warm up. I don’t think that worked too well.
Q. So you want to look ahead to either of your next two opponents, Venus, who you haven’t played in quite a while. I don’t know if you played Petkovic. Talk about Venus.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, we haven’t played in a while, like you said. But you always expect a tough match against her, no matter what stage of the tournament it is, whether it’s the fourth round or in the later stages of the tournament. She’s obviously one of the favorites here. My goal will be to go out and try to improve on what I’ve gained in the last three matches, which is another match to play. Whether it’s against her or Petkovic, then so it is.
Q. Do you feel you’re fitness is at a point where if you have to play six or seven two and a half hour matches you can do it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, throughout the last two matches I felt really good fitness wise. I didn’t feel tired; didn’t feel like I was losing the points because I didn’t get there. I was slow getting there.
I think it was a little bit of other things within the game. But fitness wise, I think it’s really important the more matches I play the better I will feel fitness wise. You can’t get better on the court moving and being in different parts of the court without playing matches. It’s impossible.
Q. I guess too is that the arm is healing good more than just the legs?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, nothing; just feeling loose.
Q. Just a question on behalf of New Zealand. I know there were a few dramas earlier in the week or funny things. I just wanted you to confirm that there was no problems in New Zealand, that you had a good time there, because it’s very important for our tourism. Did you have a good time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You couldn’t even say that with a straight face.
Q. I was trying.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I know you did. Got to try harder. Which problems?
Q. Just the talk about stalking and that sort of thing.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that just got a little carried away with people reading the transcript and not showing up to the press conference.
Q. So New Zealand was a great experience?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Does it go back to the tourism? What are we trying to prove here? Do I get a free boat ride next year if I say the right answer?
Q. Helicopter maybe.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know. That’s a little shady.
(Transcript by australianopen.com)