Q. Dropped nine games all the way to the
semis. Are you pleased about this? How did you feel
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yes, I am. I thought today was
going to be a really good test. She's beaten quality players
over the course of last week, and I know that she's capable of
playing really good, you know, with deep hitting. Also a
lefty, which is a bit tricky.
So, yeah, I thought I handled that pretty good and was able to
keep my focus all the way through the match.
Q. Did you get to see the game earlier today or is
that something you'll watch tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I watched a little bit of
it. I did, yeah.
Q. You really haven't lost focus at all for more
than, what, a game or a few points the whole tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I'd probably say more, but
that's probably because I'm critical.
No, I mean, that's always one of the toughest things, like I
mentioned before, it is keeping that focus, especially when you
have when you feel like you're doing the right
things and you have your opponent in the right position, sometimes
they start changing things up or going for it a little bit more,
and that can be dangerous.
You really have to follow through with what you've done and keep
doing it. Meanwhile, you know, keep your head in the right
Q. I guess the next match, you know her very
well. She's been playing great; she's a veteran player.
Last time you played her, was it Rome?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, we played in Beijing, in the
Yeah, I mean, I've beaten her the last few times that we've
played, but they've always been really good matches, really tough
matches. I certainly expect it in the next one.
She's had a great start to the year and playing really well.
She was, you know, the most improved player towards the end of last
year as well, so that will be hopefully a high quality semi.
Q. Does it worry you at all you haven't had a big
test yet going into the semis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, going into the match, my goal
is not really to be tested (laughter). I don't know how else
to put it. If I do come into a situation where I feel like I
have to pull through or I'm not playing my best tennis or she's up
and I have to find a way to win, then that's what you have on that
Do I want to be in that position? Absolutely not.
You know, like I said, if I start the match well, I want to follow
through with that along the whole way and keep that motivation and
the way that I'm playing, doing the right things and keeping that
focus. That's the important thing.
It's not to think, Oh, well, should I just give away a few
games. It's not really a mentality of a winner, I think.
Q. Since you coach and agent are familiar with Li
Na, do you think it's your advantage this time because they would
give you some very useful advice?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: We've played against each other so
many times before Thomas was my coach and after. I mean, Max
has been my manager since I was 11 years old. We know each
other's game. It has nothing to do.
Our coaches are not the ones that are going out on the court and
playing against each other. We're certainly experienced
enough. We've faced each other enough times that we know each
other's game so well, and at the end of the day it's all about
execution and not the other factors.
Q. Have you ever tried to ask Max the question
about, Who would you root for?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think we know the answer to that
Q. What's the answer?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Ask him (smiling). Let's call
him into a press conference.
Q. He roots for more deals, huh?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think when you've worked with
someone for as many years as we have, it's beyond money and
deals. And he's fine, I mean.
Q. Especially as the CEO of Sugarpova.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, he gave himself that
title. I don't know a CEO that's ever just given himself the
title of a CEO, but I guess he's a great example.
Q. Li Na is being coached by Carlos Rodriguez who
you clearly know from Justine. Have you noticed any
difference in her game, or did you in Beijing, or was it pretty
much the same?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, she certainly stepped up her
game. I think at different times in a player's career you
need that extra motivation, you might need a change.
She's been there; she's done that; she's a Grand Slam
champion. It wasn't like she needed someone to come in and
fix her game. I don't think that was really the plan.
But sometimes when you just have a different surrounding and a new
voice, they might be saying the same things but it just gets to you
a little bit differently and your motivation changes.
So that certainly was a big factor for me when I had to make that
decision a few years ago, because at the end of the day we know how
to play tennis, you know.
Q. Have you seen Sloane Stephens play?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A little bit. Not too much,
Q. Madison Keys you've seen a little bit more.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. A couple impressions on her.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: On Madison?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she has a big game.
Maybe she's not as consistent right now. If she can keep that
strength, I mean, she has a great first serve, you know, and she
can definitely improve her movement, but overall I think she's
heading in the right direction.
Q. According to Forbes, Li Na is the second most
paid female athlete in the world.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Since when do we pay attention to
Q. Do you feel like it's an interesting thing to
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do you?
Q. You are the most paid.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Do you think that they have my pass
code to my bank account?
Q. I don't know.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, think about it (smiling).
Q. The county of Miami Dade has approved the site to
be revamped there. How much have you felt in the last few
years that the tournament needs a facelift, that it's lagging
behind the other events?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it's such a huge event.
There's so many people from all around the world coming to watch
it. You know, after so many years, you certainly feel like
there needs to be improvements, you know, adjustments, bigger and
But, again, it's not an overnight process. You know, that
was a big step with that approval. I personally love the
tournament. I mean, I've watched it since I was a very young
little girl as a spectator and a fan. I sat in those seats
watching Marcelo Rios and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. I can only see
it growing in a bigger direction.
Yeah, I don't feel like it's really old because I still feel that
charm in it from when I was going there. That fountain in the
front, taken so many pictures there, so hopefully they leave
Overall it's a really, really nice tournament.
Q. Have you ever gave out some Sugarpova to the
girls or your rivals or Li Na?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. Mostly the ATP players are
taking them. It doesn't seem like they have any diet
restrictions. I think the girls are very cautious with the
sugar. The guys, they don't care. I heard in their
meeting they're just all over it.
Q. Maybe Li Na can bring a bag to China and do a
promotion for you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I can do that, too.