Q. Before this first round you said you were
expecting a tough match. I think you got definitely a tough
start for the tournament.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did. Yeah, I had a really
tough first round. I expected it. I knew she would come
out playing extremely well.
I think she has a good game for the grass courts. She has, as
you saw, a very good serve, good first serve. You know, the
first set we didn't break each other. Women's tennis, kind of
It was nice to get that breaker and definitely start the second set
off being up 4 1, still having chances to maybe finish it off a bit
easier than it should have been in the second.
I'm really happy with the way I came out and played my first
match. The first ones are always pretty tough, especially on
Q. Would you prefer tough first round matches when you see
the draw, see a big hitter? Is that something you like?
Would you like something a little more regular?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I just have to handle whatever's
across the net, whoever's playing me on that side of the draw, just
who's next. It's not like I choose and pick. It's
Some opponents, you know, maybe have a better game for grass, so
sometimes maybe you prefer playing them in different
To be honest, whoever is across the net, you're trying to win the
match, it's a tennis match. That's pretty much how I see
Q. After your comments on Saturday, Serena was here
yesterday. She said she apologized to you. What
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, you know, honestly, I've said
everything that I wanted to say about the issue. You know,
Wimbledon started. This is my work. This is my
job. I'd really appreciate it if we move on.
Q. Just to clarify, she said she apologized. Did you
receive an apology from her?MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, as I just
said, I'd really like to move on.
Q. Is part of it because you don't want it to be a
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. It's because Wimbledon just
started. This is one of the most incredible
tournaments. This is where all of us work. This is our
job. Our job is to go out on the court and work and try to
win matches and nothing else.
That's the most important thing to me in my life right now.
Q. Is your feeling more of sorrow or anger about what
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Nothing really.
Q. This week there's a commemoration of 40 years of the
WTA. We have some of the best players ever playing right
now. When you think of the sport, who do you consider the
greatest woman player ever and why?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That's an extremely tough question because I
wasn't part of the generation which consisted of incredible
players. I can only speak of the generation that I was part
I never played Steffi Graf. I never played Chris Evert.
Never played Navratilova. So those are considered incredible
So I think on many different levels, they all deserve a tremendous
amount of respect. And I don't think one should be called
greater than the other. There's no real reason for
Q. If you could play one player who you haven't played?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Probably Steffi.
Q. How do you think you'd play with her great forehand, her
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she'd chop me up (smiling).
Q. You were old enough to see her play and remember seeing
her play. Do you remember her being dominant and thinking
when you watched her that she was so dominant, she could beat
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I don't think I ever thought about
dominance. Quite honestly, I never watched so much of
tennis. I don't know many statistics. I just never
followed it all the time. Just when the Grand Slams were on
television, I would watch. Other than that, I never really
... I don't know anyone's record or how they did against each other
or who had a dominant year and who didn't.
I enjoyed watching her play because of her game, her composure, the
way she carried herself. Yeah, there's just so many positives
Q. You said she would chop you up. How do you think it
would work out if it were Graf against Serena Williams?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Such different styles. I think till
this day, I'm sure maybe Steffi plays here and there, but I think
she still has a pretty incredible slice, especially on grass, which
is a big weapon to have.
I don't know. I think it would be a really interesting
Q. You were saying before Wimbledon starts, this is your job,
all of that. You're used to compartmentalizing. Is this
time difficult doing it or you're so used to doing it it's
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not at all. I'm actually so much
better. I mean, of course I treat this as my job because it
is my job, because this is what I work for. When I go out on
the court, this is where all the work goes in. Why would I be
thinking about anything else?
I've always treated my life like that and my career, and hopefully
Q. Do you generally have a good relationship with the other
players in the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: During the tournament? Actually, it
Uhm, I'm not really friendly or close to many players. I have
not a lot of friends away from the courts, but in all different
parts of the world, you know, and actually in England, that's why
it's been nice to be here for the last couple of weeks.
Hasn't really felt like, you know, I've been away from home too
But I wouldn't say I'm really close to a lot of players.
Q. Is the one on one competition where there's always going
to be a winner and loser, is that a tough part of the job, or is
that just something that you come to enjoy, the competitive nature
of your profession?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do enjoy it. That's one of the
reasons I play if it's not 'the' reason. I enjoy competing
out there for a win, whether it's a first round or the final.
If you're a tennis player and you grew up playing tennis as a young
girl or boy, you're dreaming to be on big stages like Wimbledon,
like we are here.
There's no reason why you shouldn't just focus all on that and
enjoy the competition, because that's what you work for.
Q. It's not clear yet who your next opponent will be, but can
you break down the prospects against each of them separately?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I haven't played Oudin in a really
long time, I think since the US Open, since my loss to her.
It would be great to play her again.
And I don't think I've ever faced the other girl that she's playing
against. But I think she's someone that's coming up and has a
big game. Also probably really good on grass. So,
Q. When you say you're not really close to a lot of players,
is that something strategic that you're doing? Do you think
it's different on the men's tour than the women's tour?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not at all. I think just because
you're in the same sport doesn't mean that you have to be friends
with everyone just because you're categorized, you're a tennis
player, so you're going to get along with tennis players.
I think every person has different interests. I have friends
that have completely different jobs and interests, and I've met
them in very different parts of my life.
I think everyone just thinks because we're tennis players we should
be the greatest of friends. But ultimately tennis is just a
very small part of what we do. There's so many other things
that we're interested in, that we do.
Q. Some athletes don't want to be friends with other athletes
because they don't want to give away secrets or form a bond.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think there are really any secrets
out there, yeah.
Q. What was your take on Kim Clijsters when she was active
and would be so engaging to other players and people, so
friendly? She even said once her goal was to make friends on
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have always admired Kim. She's not
just a great player but an incredible person. She had a
tremendous amount of class on and off the court. That's why I
think everyone to this day respects her a lot.
Q. Through your activities on the tour and with the United
Nations, you've traveled all over the world, met international
political figures. What are your thoughts today about Nelson
Mandela who is in critical condition?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: For someone with such a big name, who has
touched so many people in this world, I think it's extremely sad to
see him in that position. I think it should be a celebration
of what he accomplished in his life than a sadness, even though
many people around the world are sad about it.
Q. What does his legacy mean to you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, from what I see in the news that I
watch and the papers that I read, he's extremely influential to so
many people on a very positive level.
Never had a chance in my life to meet him. But the people
that have met him have said incredibly nice things about him.
Q. You said that you like being in England. What is it
that you particularly like about England as opposed to other places
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I've been on the road for a
while. Coming into Wimbledon and London, I feel like I've
been in many big cities, but coming to this part of London, it
quiets things down. It's nice waking up to the birds chirping
rather than the taxis or things I've heard in the last six or seven
It's been a really nice balance. I really enjoy coming here,
being able to be in a home and cook, don't have to go out or eat
anywhere. It's just a home environment rather than being in
hotels and going to restaurants.
It's a bit more domestic, I guess.