Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova’s interview

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Maria Sharapova’s interview after her forth round defeat to German Angelique Kerber. (Source: wimbledon.com)

Q.  You were the favorite after Serena exited.  Does it make the loss today more difficult to take?MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I always consider myself one of the favorites because I’ve won Grand Slams before; been No. 1 in the world.  It’s absolutely normal for people to have high expectations of me doing well in Grand Slam stages.

I certainly do, as well.  Today could have gone either way, and it didn’t go my way.

Q.  What do you think the difference was in the match, and what will you take from the way you saved all those match points?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think there were a few little key moments in each set actually that I can learn from.  You know, I was up in the tiebreaker and didn’t follow through.  You know, it was great to come back in that second.

Had a really slow start in the third.  She rode with that confidence.  It was just a few points in the end of that.  Maybe things would have been different if I won that game, but in the end I didn’t.

Q.  What about in the end when you were down half a dozen match points and were able to save them.  Can you describe what that was like for you.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I gave myself a chance to come back in the match after losing the first set.  After having a slow start to the third, you know, I felt like I worked too hard within the match to let it go the easy way.

So I did everything I could in the end to try to save those.  I did, but I didn’t save the last one.

Q.  Petra Kvitova is the only Grand Slam champion winner left in the tournament.  Does this represent a changing of the guard?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yes and no.  The Grand Slam champions so far are myself and Li Na who have both won Grand Slams, yet you see a younger generation that’s driving through the Grand Slam stages, playing exceptionally against top players.

I think they’re top 20, top 10 going to be in the world now.  So you definitely see that shift.

As far as winning Grand Slams, I think that’s yet to be determined.

Q.  Kerber made so few mistakes today; was that frustrating to play against?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  No.  She’s never really a player that gives you a lot of mistakes or lots of errors.  You really have to win the match against her.

She showed that today.

Q.  You opened a candy shop in Wimbledon.  Why?  Will you spend more time there now that you’re not competing anymore?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  The idea came last year of opening something if I had the right location to do so.  It’s always been kind of my idea to open up a pop???up shop during Grand Slams.

Wimbledon is just great because you have a little village and a lot of people coming through from the tennis.  I was lucky to get a good location.

It was just for the three weeks, though.

Q.  Is it going well?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yes, it is.

Q.  Will you be there now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I’m not sure how long I’ll stay there, but I’ll definitely pay a visit.  I love going there.

Q.  You mentioned the other day about how hard it is to do the double.  It isn’t just switching from clay to grass, but it’s the extended period of clay.  Are you a bit worn out mentally and physically from the last few months and then winning the French?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Not really.  I think I’ve actually had a really rejuvenating trip, to be honest.  I know it’s been very physical and I played a lot of matches.

To think of where I started in Stuttgart, I was a couple points from losing that first round on, and here I am three titles later with a Grand Slam and obviously a tough result today.

Otherwise I’m in a much better position compared to last year.  Last year I was sitting here with an injured shoulder not really sure what I was going to do.  Didn’t really have a coach at that time.

So looking at a bigger perspective, I’m in a much better place.

Q.  It’s rare that you have this number of unforced errors.  Did you feel you were fighting it at times today or just missing?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I haven’t seen the numbers of unforced errors or winners and all of that.  That’s not really the stat that I look at after a match.

Q.  Now that you have a free day tomorrow, will you go into the players box to watch Dimitrov against Andy Murray?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I haven’t had a chance to think about that as I just finished my match 30 minutes ago.

Q.  When you won here so young, it looked like you had a game sort of tailor made for this surface.  How has your relationship with grass changed over these last 10 years?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Despite the results and the fact that I’ve lost here and haven’t had good results, I still love playing on grass.  I think my game suits the surface extremely well.

You know, it’s always tough to say that you love playing out there after losing a match, but I really do.  You know, considering I didn’t play any matches, I thought I felt much better on it than I did the previous couple of years.

Q.  Has it become more challenging or do you feel it’s circumstances one year to the next?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, the surface itself has changed since 10 years ago.  I don’t think we had the rallies that I had with Kerber today 10 years ago against anyone.

Q.  You’ve come in for a little bit of criticism about the sweets shop, given it’s not the kind of food for athletes.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Criticism but great sales afterwards.  It’s kind of like the best day after the criticisms.  If you want to provide some more…

Q.  Which of the sweets do you eat?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, there’s 15 of them.  I kind of go back and forth between my favorites.

Q.  Which ones are your favorites, please?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Quirky.  It’s called Quirky.

Q.  What’s it made of?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s a licorice type, marshmallow middle with a strawberry flavor.  You should give it a try.

You can smile more often, by the way.

Q.  There were a few rallies, especially today.  You were hitting big and hitting so flat, yet she was still able to get the ball back.  Is that a credit to her anticipation and defense, or is it really that the surface has slowed down and we’re seeing a few more of these protracted rallies?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think a combination of both.  As the court wears out a little bit it gives us a chance to have longer rallies.

She’s a great anticipator of the ball.  She’s one of the best.  That’s why she’s been in the top the last few years.  Maybe she hasn’t had the best results this year particularly, but she’s played on the bigger stages.  She’s gone far in Grand Slams.  She’s been top 10 for a while now.

There’s a reason she does that.  I don’t think she has a very huge weapon, but the fact that she makes you play such a physical match, gets so many balls back, and not just back, but deep and hard and flat, yeah, it says something.

Q.  Who would you pick out of the girls that are left in the draw as the most likely winner here?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I’m not sure.  Yeah, it’s tough to think about that.

Q.  Both you and Serena Williams are out now before the quarterfinals.  What is happening to the big experienced stars?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  In this particular tournament?

Q.  Yes.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It happens.  That’s the game.  Just because you come in as a favorite doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to hold the trophy at the end of the two weeks.

That’s why we play this sport.  You start from the first round.  As many people anticipate certain matches, people going through, the favorites.  At the end of the day those are just words.

We as players have to go out and play.  That’s the way some of the results have turned out.

Q.  There’s a lot of tennis ahead in the summertime.  Having won one major, does that help you get through the rest of the season and free you up a little bit because you already have that one in your pocket?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s tough to think about that now because I’m always disappointed after tough matches like these.

But, of course.  To come back after not playing for a few months at the end of last year, a few question marks.  And not having the best start to the season.

Of course, it was great to come out really strong in Paris and fight the way that I did and come through some of those really tough matches.

But, again, you’re only as good as your last tournament.  So I got to get back on the horse and work hard, as I’m sure everyone says after they lose a match, and keep doing it and keep working.

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