Q. How do you feel?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Good. I'm feeling really
good. Obviously, I would have loved to have gone into
Brisbane and play that. I wish I would have had maybe two,
three extra days to be able to practice some more overhead stuff
and serve and whatnot.
Yeah, but I came here a little bit earlier than obviously I
would have wanted to. I've been able to get a lot of good
practice in, playing on center court, be in Melbourne for a little
Q. Can you describe what happened? Did you
wake up with the neck stiff in the morning? Was that the
first time it ever happened that it was bad enough to prevent you
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was something I was feeling a
little bit. Then I woke up I think it was the day before
Christmas Eve, it was a Sunday. I was like, Wow, this is not
too good. Christmas Eve I had to do like a few tests,
machines, MRI. It was just not good enough, certainly not for
Korea, Dr. (indiscernible). If I get anything in that type of
area... He just wanted to make sure that I really took care
Q. Did it ruin your Christmas?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not at all. It actually gave
me an extra couple days at home. I had more time to wrap
(smiling). Just what I need in my life, another few presents
Q. You've gone into Grand Slams a lot of different
ways. Going in this time, does it really matter that you
haven't had match play or does it not matter at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I would have loved to come in with a
few matches. But sometimes circumstances don't allow that,
and that's okay.
To me, I'd rather be going onto the court knowing that I'm
healthy. Yes, I might be a little bit rusty, but I'll work my
way through it. I'm experienced enough to know the
adjustments I have to make in those types of circumstances. I
went to Brisbane. I certainly would have loved to step on the
court and play those matches.
Q. Do you actually play matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did, yeah.
Q. Who would you play against?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I played a couple of the junior boys
here, actually a good couple Australian kids. I think one of
them got a wild card in the main draw. I played against
Daniela a set out on Margaret Court just now. It was nice to
be able to go out and play in front of a crowd because I haven't
done that in a bit.
Other than that, just some girls here and there.
Q. You handled those junior boys okay, no
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Hmm. One of them was really on
top of me and then I got really mad. I think he had eight set
points and I ended up winning the set. I'm not going to tell
who it is. Too embarrassed. I don't think he slept well
after that one.
Then another one, I think it was Luke Saville, we didn't
actually finish. The set took too long.
Yeah, it was just nice to be able to have different types of
game styles as well.
Q. Joining Twitter sometime this month?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am.
Q. When is that going to happen?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's a surprise (smiling).
Q. Do you have a user name picked out and
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe (smiling).
Q. Can you give us a hint?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I would tell you if I could.
Q. You were pretty active on Facebook. You've
grown to like it a lot more now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's my New Year's resolution, to
be a little more active. I was getting a little lazy in the
last few years. Certainly the last six months I wanted to
step it up. I'm actually really enjoy doing it. I like
to write. When I'm taking pictures now, I'm actually thinking
of taking pictures for my fans to be able to see what's going on in
my life a little bit. I think it's a really nice
interaction. I also like writing, making it fun and
interesting, giving a different perspective than what people see of
me on a daily basis in my sport.
Q. Is Sugarpova putting it more out there as a
saleswoman, a brand partially?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mostly do it for my fans. I
think I have over nine million fans. I don't quite really
believe that. I think Max is probably just pressing the
button all the time, all the different computers, all his different
But it's certainly a great way to reach out to the world.
I mean, when I look at the incredible fan base I have from all
around the world, no matter. I just went to Brazil, I haven't
been there in a few years, just to see the excitement, to see a
different fan base.
When people write me letters, they mention their only kind of
connection that's more personal is through my social media.
That's when I realize it's so important to me.
Q. Do you ever answer any of those letters?
Nine million people are a lot.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The letters or the Facebook
Q. The communications.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't write letters back.
Most of them end with, Can you please send me an autograph?
Yeah, my mother and I actually have a whole system where she goes
through all the mail and I sign as many as I can back.
Q. What was another New Year's resolution?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, I don't know. You know New
Year's resolutions never come true. I just hope to keep one,
I'm not very good at those. But this one I'm going to try
Q. Tennis wise?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Are you asking me for my goals for
Q. Whatever you want to talk about.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, I certainly have a lot
of goals. The off season was a really good time for me to
look back on the previous year, just settle down, have some time
off. I was also thinking about the things I want to work on,
goals I want to accomplish.
But those are just step by steps. I don't like to talk
about my open goals too much.
Q. You mentioned looking back. Do you look
back on who you were five years ago and all that's gone on since
then? What do you make of all that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Certainly I was playing some of my
best tennis in my career. Little did I know six months later
I would not be playing tennis at all.
It's certainly nice to look back at those memories, nice to be
able to sit here. I think this is, what, my 9th or 10th year
playing the Australian Open. It's nice to be still here in
the middle of my career and go out on a court and compete in front
of thousands of people.
Q. Is it good to be back in Australia?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It is. I'm not sure if it's
because you're training for a month and a half and you're
officially board of training and life in that period of time that
you really want to get going again.
You're just over the fitness, you're over your coach for a
little bit. You really want to go out into a match
atmosphere. Part of it is because you're coming here.
It's summertime. Everyone is in a great mood, chatty,
probably half drunk it's so hot, you just want cold Mojitos.
But, yeah, I love it. They're so passionate about the
Q. When you won in 2008, six months later you were
out with the shoulder, was there anything here that you could feel
here, a little sensation?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't want to look back to
that. Yeah, I mean, certainly anything with the shoulder, the
surgery, it's not the most pleasant memories.
Q. Because Serena has been playing so great and is
considered by many as the favorite to win the tournament, does it
take a little bit of the pressure off everyone else and put it
pretty much on her shoulders?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think everyone reacts to it a
little bit differently. There's a reason why everyone's
playing here and everyone's in the draw. You can't worry
about somebody else that's not even close to you in a certain part
of the draw. You have to take it a step at a time.
That's certainly my goal and my job here.
Q. You've had a lot of tight matches with Venus over
the years. What are your thoughts on that matchup?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: First of all, we still have to get
to that point and then we can discuss it further.
There's no doubt that she's a champion, an experienced one at
that. No matter where she's ranked, what level she's at,
she's a tough opponent.
Q. When you haven't played much at all going into a
slam, how do you keep yourself calm knowing that you might not play
your best early on and build from there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's just experience, maybe
giving yourself that extra slack in case you do make a few more
errors, you don't concentrate maybe as well as you would if you
were in that match groove.
But, yeah, just giving yourself a little bit more room for error
I guess as well, going out there. Just because you're rusty
doesn't mean you're not going to play well. You might maybe
go for a little bit more in certain situations.
I'm too experienced to feel that way. I shouldn't be
feeling that way.