Q. Welcome back, Maria.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thank you.
Q. The last Australian Open didn't finish
spectacularly for you, but you had a good year returning to a Grand
Slam winner's circle at the French. How are you feeling
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I'm feeling quite well.
You know, I had a really nice off‑season and just time to reflect
on the year that passed. Every year is such a cycle.
You go from tournament to tournament, and even when you achieve
something like winning a Grand Slam, all of a sudden back to back
you're back in London and ready to play Wimbledon. You're not
really given a chance to reflect on what you achieved.
So it was really nice to come home and have a little bit of
a break. This was probably the busiest year for me in terms
of match play and traveling, so having that chance to really
reflect on the year and what you achieved and coming back from
shoulder surgery and winning the French Open as my first Grand Slam
was really nice.
Certainly reflecting on this gives me a lot of motivation
going into this year and preparing for it.
Yeah, so everything has been going well.
Q. Was it more special winning the French after all
your shoulder trouble.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. Yeah, I think just
a lot of things came together. But most of all, it was
because it was the Grand Slam that was going to take a little bit
longer than the others for me because I knew that physically I
needed a few extra years to get stronger to move more efficiently
on that surface, get my body ready to recover match after match,
which was something I struggled with maybe years before
Of course it being the Grand Slam that I hadn't won and it
being the first one I won after the surgery, it was just many, many
things came together for me that week.
Q. 2013 Maria will be your tenth season since you won
Wimbledon in 2004. In reflection, would that be one of your
better seasons last year? Must be fantastic to win a Grand
Slam and carry the flag.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, gosh, absolutely. Besides
winning the French Open, obviously the Olympic experience was one
that I'll never forget because it was my first time being an
Olympian. I was the first Russian female athlete to carry the
flag for my country, so it was very emotional.
It was so fast from the day of the ceremony to the
final. Six matches in seven days and the ceremony was the day
before. It was a lot to take in in those eight
It was such an incredible experience.
Q. Begs the question of how you get your mind up ready
for the new season? You pack it up and put it in a
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You do a little bit. You have
to have a bit of a short‑term memory, whether it's good memory or
bad, because a new year is always ahead of you.
I don't like to say that you have to start from nothing, but
you go back to the drawing board and you think of the few things‑‑
obviously, you know, continue what you're doing because you've
achieved that success, but also work on a few things that you
believe will help you get to the next level.
Q. What's motivating you this year: more Grand
Slams or No. 1 ranking?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think at this point in my career
it's the Grand Slams, definitely.
Q. When Serena was in here yesterday, she thought it
may be possible for her to win all four slams this year. She
said you and Victoria are probably thinking the same thing.
What's your take on it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, she has the last two, so she's
a couple steps closer than we are, that's for sure.
But, yeah, she had an incredible season. You know, the
reason we still go out and play these matches is because we have to
start from scratch and from the first round and from the first
point. We have to do it again.
Has she achieved this before? I don't
Q. Serena has four in a row, but not in one
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I see. Anything is possible,
but that's certainly tough. (Laughter.)
Q. How tough to win four?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: How tough? Well, I've never
done it so I can't tell you. (Laughter.)
Q. Victoria said this morning that this era of women's
tennis is possibly the strongest it's been. How do you feel
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it is a little bit
different. It's much more physical I think than it has
been. I think the biggest change that I see is maybe five
years ago you go into a tournament and you would treat the first
couple rounds as, you know, not as a warmup, but you don't have to
go into the first round thinking, Okay, this is where I really have
to play my best tennis.
Now it's certainly much different because you can be facing
an opponent that's had good results, beaten top players, but hasn't
been consistent enough but is really tough, tough player. The
inconsistency obviously shows that their ranking is not high
enough, therefore you're facing them in the first few
It's a much stronger sport. And also with technology
and racquets and improvements of all the things we have, I mean,
there are so many things in tennis that in other sports you don't
consider: the balls, the racquets, the strings. That
changes yearly, you know.
Q. What's the secret to longevity? Obviously
preparation is becoming much bigger. What's the secret to
keep going at this level?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's having the right balance with
motivation and staying healthy. Everybody is different and
everyone's mindset. I've never been one to play a lot
tournaments because I don't think I physically can perform well at
all of them if I do have a schedule with a lot of
So my philosophy has always been building around the ones
that are most important me and trying to peak at those. Maybe
not going into a tournament with as many matches as others would
prefer, but knowing that I'm healthy, that I'm ready.
I might be a little bit rusty in the beginning, but
ultimately if your mind is fresh and your body is healthy, that's
the most important.
So it's not easy. It's not easy to have that balance
Q. I think the Australian Open final scoreline 12
months ago was not anything that anyone predicted. How do you
reflect on that now, or do you just not? That was just not a
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I'm certainly not sitting here
thinking about that final. It's always great to be in that
stage of a tournament. It's obviously tough to lose in the
final stage because you worked so hard to get there.
But I took that disappointment and I worked hard and I went
into the next Grand Slam and I won it, so...
Q. Do you have a favorite place you like to
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, each one of them is a very
special moment and a very different time in my career. I
think the French this year was very, very memorable after all that
I went through.
But I think that Wimbledon is really up there for
Q. Those four trophies on one little table at
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, to be honest, if you come
to my house you wouldn't even know that I was a tennis player,
Q. Would we think you're a cook or...
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I think like an interior
designer or something. Yeah.