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Beijing Quarter-Final Interview

Posted on October 6, 2012

Q.  Congratulations.  Next match you might fight against either Li Na or Radwanska.  What's your comments on the next opponent?  And also, today Kerber was injured.  You also suffer from injury before.  So as a player, how are you going to try to avoid injury either on the court or off the court?  What are you supposed to do to avoid injury?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I thought we played a high level of tennis the first set and a half, and even though the scoreline was 6‑0, 3‑0, there were many games that went to deuce.  She had a few break points and long games on her serve.
I actually didn't see much of her injury.  I was surprised she called the trainer and even more so when she retired quickly after that.
But, you know, it's no secret to everyone that we are towards the end of the season, and there are just little things whether it's serious or just a little thing that, you know, maybe will go in a few days hopefully.
You know, the body‑‑ the schedule takes its toll on everyone.  It's a normal process.  You know, if you feel like it's too bad, you've got to take care of it and be on the court when you're close to 100%.
My next round will be tough no matter what, either facing Li Na or Radwanska.  I have had difficult matches against both of them in the past.  You know, I lost to Radwanska last time in Miami, and against Li Na we had a really long match on clay in Rome.
So either way it will be difficult.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  So you didn't really have any sense during the match that something might be a little bit off with her?  I mean, I know that she beat you earlier this year in Paris, and I think she played you pretty close last time, as well.  For you to come out and dominate this time...
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Not really, because we had really long rallies, and, I mean, I would say 50% of the games I felt like were really long and went to deuce and back and forth.
It wasn't like she was just making easy errors or not going to the ball.  So maybe it got worse as the match went on.  I'm not sure.
But like I said, health is the most important thing, and she's got to take care of it.  Yeah.

Q.  Is there anything that you noticed in particular that was different playing against her today than maybe like in Paris when she got you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I beat her after Paris.  I don't know.  You keep referring to the time I lost.  (Smiling.)
Yeah, I mean, look, she's sixth in the world.  There is a reason why she's at that spot and why she's been so consistent in the last year.
Her results have shown that, you know, she's beaten some really great players.  I mean, she's so consistent on the court and makes you hit so many balls that sometimes you almost go a little too much for it and end up making a few more errors than usual.
But I really tried to stay aggressive today, really did a good job of moving the ball around and being solid and moving in when I could.

Q.  Can you tell us a little about your candy line, Sugarpova?  Are you carrying any bags of candy with you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I wish I could say yes, but I ate it all.  There's none left.
When my manager was in town, I asked him for a few, but otherwise I don't carry it with me because then it just becomes too dangerous.  I've got vacation in a month or so, and I need to‑‑ you know, I'm going to be wearing bikinis, so I can't be eating candy before.  I need to be bikini‑ready.

Q.  All this talk about prize money and stuff like that, I'm just wondering, from a personal point of view, do you feel like players are really underpaid?  I mean, they seem like "poor little me," like they make a lot of money.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  We do.  We make a really good amount of money.  We're very lucky.
You mean about the Australian Open issue?

Q.  Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I mean, look, I think every athlete should be compensated for what they do and their achievements and their result.  There's no doubt about it.
I'm certainly not sitting in this chair and complaining about my prize money.  I'm very lucky with what I have been able to achieve and the compensation I have received, but it certainly is nice to see that the revenue that these Grand Slams are receiving, which is a pretty big number compared to maybe what the athletes get in return, you know, they're all getting together, and the Australian Open is really the first one that took the stand on it and said, Since we are making really good money and getting so many people, so much interest, why not give a little more percentage to the players, for sure?

Q.  We know that next round you have a big possibility to meet Li Na.  Could you just talk about Li Na, maybe what is your advantage and her advantage, especially when this tournament was held in China?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, of course, if I do happen to play against her, there's no doubt that she's playing in her home country and she will have the support behind her, which is absolutely normal and to be expected.
You know, she's a very tough matchup against me, because we have always had really difficult matches.  And before the one ‑‑well, I won the last two, I think, but before that she got me a couple of times.  We have been back and forth with our results.
But every match is always really high‑quality tennis, and that's what I hope to expect in the next match.  I mean, she's proven why she's a Grand Slam champion with her results, and she's, you know, been top 10 in the world for a long time.  There's no reason why it shouldn't be a good match tomorrow.

Q.  Are there times as a tennis player where the scoreline can kind of dictate your decision of whether to stay in a match or retire from a match if you kind of have a nagging injury?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it all depends how serious your injury is.  I think if it's a nagging injury that's ‑‑I mean, I think if you go on the court, you need to have a mindset that you're going to be able to finish the match.
You know, nagging injuries are ones that just kind of are there and are floating around, and usually you can get by them but maybe they're not improving, but I don't think they really get you out of retiring in a match.
I think it's the injuries that get worse within a situation within a match that you really need to look out for.

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