Q. When you seen an opponent struggling like that in
the first set, what do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I got to keep them
You know, obviously there is a reason why they're in that
position. You know, could be a combination of them not having
a good day and also you forcing the issue a bit.
You know, I certainly didn't want to play as long of a match
as I did in the previous round. I wanted to do a better job
of a few things, and I think I did.
Q. Kind of funky playing those dead rubber matches,
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Um, they're not so dead. You're
going out and playing in front of thousands of people.
Q. You know what I mean. You're getting through
anyway and she can't.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I think there are
still some things that you play for, because, especially in my
mind, I don't want to go and just play to play tennis. I go
to play to win.
So it's not like a practice match or anything.
Q. But is it just a little bit of an upgrade on a
practice match? Are you kind of thinking ahead? You
knew going into today that you'd reached the semifinals and she
couldn't get there, so it's not really same type of pressure or
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't want to feel that way, to be
honest. I wanted to go and try to replicate a match that
matters. To me, in my mind, it does.
I never want to go into a match when I'm in a competitive
tournament atmosphere and feel like there is nothing on the
line. That would never really get me going,
Q. Next you get the winner of the match coming up
later tonight between Li Na and Azarenka. Can you talk about
each them, especially I guess Li Na, because you've played Azarenka
a lot recently.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I played both of them in
Beijing. I mean, there are no secrets out there. We've
played maybe a little less against Li Na this year than
Azarenka. Either one are a big challenge and I've had trouble
against, especially with Azarenka this year.
So, you know, I'm putting myself back in the position to try
to change things around and do things a bit differently. So
I'm happy that I'm giving myself more opportunities against these
players, whether it's Li Na or Azarenka.
Q. When you lose several times to the same player,
like Azarenka, do you ever go back and watch those
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, of course I do.
Q. Any main things you see when you watch
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Certainly.
Q. You said about the Australian Open prize money that
you didn't think it would be a good idea to increase the first
round loser's prize money. What do you think about the case
of injured players who come back after and they're struggling at
first because they have no support from federation or maybe don't
have sponsors as well? So the first round loser's paycheck is
very important to these kind of players, don't you
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do. I think it's obviously an
incredible position to be in a Grand Slam main draw. I mean,
don't get me wrong. I just think that when you're in a
position to be in a Grand Slam first round, you want to have the
motivation to go further, to win the match, to get prize money, to
get more prize money, to get more points.
I always feel like there has to be something on the
line. You don't just feel like just because you're in the
draw you're going to be paid more. There is no doubt ‑‑ I
mean, I think that it's obviously very difficult for somebody
that's maybe ranked 190, a 100‑something, to make really good
money, because this is one of the most expensive
I mean, the expenses are incredibly big and
challenging. In order for you to get to the next level, you
have to have a really good team of knowledge and people, and that
takes a lot of money. That's no secret.
But yet when you just arrive to a place, you want to have a
motivation to get yourself through to the next round. So I
don't think that there is anything that I said that I'm trying to
take away from losing or somebody that's just there.
It's a really incredible position to get there. It
takes a lot. You obviously have to win tournaments, go far in
tournaments, and be consistent, so...
Q. Just talk a little bit more about playing Victoria
if you play her. You've played her a lot this year. You
beat her in Stuttgart; very close at the US Open; other ones, not
so close. What do you need to do to get over the hump on hard
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think just stay with her a
little bit more and be a little bit more consistent, but
aggressively consistent. We have very similar game
styles. We like to hit the ball and be the first one to
really go for it in the rallies.
I think that's just something that maybe I was a little bit
tentative and not doing so well in the previous‑‑ in some of the
matches where I haven't had success.
You know, also taking my opportunities. I mean, US
Open I'm up a set and a break and having chances in certain games
and not taking them. You really can't do that against someone
that's No. 1 in the world.
Q. Is there a mental part of it confidence‑wise
against her, because she seems to return you very well
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there are many great things she
does, but you have to expect that against someone that's one of the
best in the world. No doubt.
Q. Just one more on Stosur. Since she won the US
Open she sort of struggled to replicate that fantastic match she
played against Serena. Have you noticed a change in her game
or herself since then?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it took me a couple years after
I won my first major to get to that type of position again.
It's certainly not an easy one, especially after you experience
that type of success, almost floating on clouds and you feel like
you're the greatest ever.
That takes a while to get back. Everyone is different,
and you can't compare anyone. I can't compare myself to her
or anyone else, like she can't.
But from my experience, I'm not sitting here and saying I
won Wimbledon, the next day I won the US Open. I was far from
So everything is a learning experience, and I'm sure it is
for her as well.
Q. You were the first top player Li Na was trying to
challenge when she came back from her retirement back in
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Who?
Q. Li Na.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't know she was
Q. She has for two years.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah? I had no
Q. You played her in 2005 Australian Open that
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which round was that?
Q. Third round. You beat her pretty
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't remember that
Q. You don't remember?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I won?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Okay, good.
Q. After so many meetings in seven years, do you think
in a way that she's still fresh as she was back then considering
she's almost 31 years old right now? Can you talk about
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think age is something that
you can really say is affecting someone, especially when they're ‑‑
I mean, look, last year she won the French Open. What is she,
31 now? She was 30 then, so you could have had the same type
of conversation and said she is a Grand Slam champion at 30 years
Now, what, she's 31 and all of a sudden you're asking if
she's good enough at 31. That's kind of tough. From the
position where she was in 2005, even though I don't remember that
match, obviously she's been very consistent in the last few
years. To be a Grand Slam champion is not an easy task, no
matter if you're 16, 17 or 30 or 35.
Q. I remember when you beat Victoria this year in the
Stuttgart final and afterwards you got a car and you drove the car
onto the court. Have you had a chance to drive that car much
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven't received that car
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it's at the dealership
now. Maybe when I get back I'll get to drive it.
Q. Did you see the video you were in with Robson and
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did.
Q. Reaction? Looked kind of fun there,
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was really fununtil ‑‑ well,
when I found out what Gangnam was and what Gangnam Style
She actually approached me after one of my matches in
Beijing and she was like, Can you just do this quick intro for
me? We did this video, Gangnam Style. I'm like,
She's like, Gangnam Style. I'm like, I'll do it if you
tell me how to pronounce it right. She's like, What do you
mean you don't know how to pronounce it? I'm like, I've never
heard of this. What is it?
So I did it and I sound ridiculous and I sound like I don't
know what I'm talking about obviously and I'm very embarrassed
about it. But then driving in my car and I hear this
ridiculous song and I'm like, What is this? And I look at my
radio and it says Gangnam Style.
I'm like, Oh, my goodness. I'm 25. I'm not that
old. I'm still into it. So I didn't know what I was
doing, but it came out great. It was funny.
Q. Did they ask you to dance?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Ask me to dance? I didn't even
know what it was. Now maybe I can, you know, attempt, but
before I needed to know how to pronounce it.