Q. Obviously late start, but seemed like you
really picked up the game in the second set. Victoria as well
stayed tough, didn't she?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's a little bit too late to pick up
the pace when you're down a set and 4 0. Yeah, I wish I
picked it up earlier obviously. Against a player like her you
have to have that level from the beginning or else she's going to
go with it and only get better. She'll gain more
Yeah, she did many things better than I did today. She was
the aggressive one. She returned better and did a lot of
things better than I did.
Q. You're only a couple years older, and yet it
seems like there are some similarities to the point where she might
have watched you modelled some stuff on you. Do you sense
that you're playing someone similar to you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: She well, has an aggressive game. She
goes for her groundstrokes. Yeah, there are certainly
similarities. I don't know if that's because she watched me
or that's just the way her game is.
Q. You only managed to hold your serve once
today. Was there any particular problem, or just it was an
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, it was on off day on many
parts of the game. I mean, there were many games when I was
up in the game, 30 Love, 40 15, 40 Love, and didn't hold
serve. There were many games it was 30 All on her serve and I
missed a return on, and that just takes away all the pressure from
her. It gives her all the confidence in the world.
Q. At the beginning of this tournament you said
about your expectation for the French Open.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That I have expectations? What do you
Q. That you want to do well at Roland
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right.
Q. Can you explain a little bit
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, it's a really exciting part
of the year that's coming up. I love the summer. I love
starting on the clay. I feel like I learn a tremendous amount
on it, and the game is long and interesting and teaches you a
You know, the French is obviously the Grand Slam that I haven't
won, so I would love to compete there and do really well. I
mean, that's a goal of mine, no doubt about it.
Yeah, and then little by little get on the grass.
Q. You've gotten so much traction with your
service return in some of these matches, yet today your serve
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not at all.
Q. How did you feel about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You nailed it. I didn't have much
traction on it. I don't know what that term means.
You're talking about the return. But, yeah, I was just making
too many errors.
Like you said, I mean, when you have 15 30, 30 All, it's
just I mean, you got to go for it, but you got to
make your opponent play. Just gives her all the confidence in
Q. Semifinals Indian Wells, final here, back in
the top 10. Do you still need that one big win to get your
confidence so you can feel like, Okay, I can win slam again, or you
feel like you're there already?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Look, no matter if you win or lose, you
always want to build your game and be better. That's the way
I look at it. I never want to feel satisfied. I don't
think that's the right mentality to have.
I'm very, very happy that I've achieved this much in the last
three, four weeks. If you saw me, I don't know, ten weeks ago
when I came back from Paris after pulling out then, I was in no
shape or form to even play a tournament.
So it's really amazing that I even achieved that. Like I
said, I came into Indian Wells without a lot of expectations.
I was sick for almost three weeks, and I got myself back in
You know, yeah, I'm proud of that. Definitely.
Q. Have you made any changes in your equipment,
particularly your strings because of your shoulder?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, well, I changed my racquet in
November. I started playing with a Head, but not because of
And the string, I've changed my string a lot of times. Also
depends on the weather. Sometimes when you go on clay maybe
you feel like you need a little more pop. It changes.
Q. Could you repeat what went through your mind
when Vika hit those two nets in a row at 3 Love?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Sometimes that's the way it goes. I
mean, I could have been up and that could have happened. I
was obviously down and that happened, so it doesn't really
It's just the situation that you're in. What can you do
about it? It's a sport. There's a net.
Q. Can you elaborate just a little bit more on the
illness? What was wrong in those couple three weeks before
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just got really sick. I had the
flu. It was pretty bad. I got it in Moscow and then I
went to Paris with it and then stayed there and then flew home and
got an ear infection and all those things.
So it was a normal flu, but not that normal.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, just a long recovery process.
I'm just saying I was not in a state like first
day I went on the court, my coach knows it was just
laughable. I just lost weight and I was so out of it.
Q. How many practice days did you
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Like almost three weeks, two and a half
weeks. Like I was saying, I just didn't really have many
expectations going into Indian Wells I will.
But I did practice really hard going into these two tournaments
once I got my energy back. I played some matches, hit a lot
with Tommy Haas actually, so that was really fun.
Yeah, I had some good practices.
Q. At the end of the first set you had a meeting
with your coach. What do you and your coach talk
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, yeah, he told me that I have to be the
one that has to be aggressive from the first ball. When she
has the opportunities to hit the first ball, that's when she steps
in and is at her best and she really dictates play.
Yeah, that's pretty much it.
Q. So much was made of your shrieking early in
your career. Did you feel like you met your match today on
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I don't really think about it
when I play.
Q. Were you not aware of what's going on at the
other end that way?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. It's about thinking what have to
Q. What does it mean to you to be back in the top
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it means that I'm winning matches and
winning more of them. It's been a long road to get
here. It's not over yet, so, yeah, just keep going.
Q. Do you feel like the women's game is wide open
with the Williamses gone, Justine quit, Kim's back and forth and
Caroline's never won a slam. Do you feel like it's there to
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You can't think like that. You have
to have your own mindset. If you think you have a chance
because someone's not playing, that's a weak mentality to
have. I'm a competitor. I like playing against the
best. I love playing against champions. It's what makes
I mean, it's what the game is all about.