Maria Sharapova on Olympics, Golden Slam, and Novak’s Imitations

March 14, 2008,

Pacific Life Open.

Q. Do you plan on playing? Because Andy pulled out of it because he thought it was too close to the US Open for him. What are your thoughts about it? And can you excel at both the Open and the Olympics since it’s so close together?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The Olympics comes around only once every four years, and the US Open is there every single year. I don’t know if he’s played the Olympics before. But, you know, obviously I never have, and it’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl.
So it’s been one of my priorities for a very long time. You know, I’m privileged to be part of so many athletes. You know, I really don’t know what to expect, because usually you play the same events every single year. You go from tournament to tournament.
I think this will be just completely new and different, and usually you have sort of an idea of what things are going to be like, but I’m really clueless. I’m just — one of the things I’m really looking forward to is the opening ceremony and walking with all the athletes and, you know, athletes from my country, yeah, in front of thousands of people.

Q. Who there would you like to meet you haven’t had the chance to meet before?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’d love — well, I don’t know about meeting, but I’d actually love to watch gymnastics or rhythmic gymnastics, because when I was younger I wanted to be a rhythmic gymnast. I don’t know if the weeks are the same. What else do I want to watch?

Q. You’re intrigued by the ribbon, or which part of rhythmic gymnastics.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just the art. In Russia, rhythmic gymnastics and figurer skating is an art form, and I was always intrigued by that. I actually did gymnastics for a couple of years when I was younger, about nine or ten. It was part of my fitness regime.
But I don’t know. I just love, you know, I love ribbons. I used to be like — in my garage I used to put rollerblades on and that used to be like my figure skates. I used to make a fake ribbon and I’d be rolling around my garage. I’d have my parents pull the car out and have one of those old radios that I’d turn on, one of those really geeky stations, and I’d just be roller blading and waiving the ribbon. I thought I was in the Olympics.

Q. After winning the Australian and you’re a contender for a golden slam with the Olympics, have you ever even let yourself think about that yet?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m far away from that. You know, I’ve only won one Grand Slam this year and I’ve got many more tournaments — three more Grand Slams and the Olympics to go.
You know, as I said, I want to use these tournaments as good preparation for the Grand Slams, which are obviously the biggest tournaments of the year, and the Olympics including.
But you never know what will happen. It will be great if I can, but realistically it’s pretty difficult.

Q. Someone’s been getting a lot of mileage about doing imitations of you. Do you think you’re going to do imitations of him some day?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely not. I’d hurt my back doing his imitation, honestly.

Q. That many times?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yes. I’m a little fragile when it comes to that.

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