Australian Open 2nd Round Interview

Maria def. Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-2 6-1

Q. Must be happy to back up your first round with another strong performance.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was definitely a different type of match. Took a lot of warming up for this one. Bit of uncertainty going into a match quite late.
But, yeah, despite all those changes, I thought I played well.

Q. You’re now going to face off with Wozniacki in the third round. You’ve met on many occasions before. How would you characterize her as an opponent and player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think her results, specifically in the past year, speak for her game, how she’s been able to raise her level. I think the Grand Slam was the one trophy she was looking for. With determination she got there last year.
She loves playing here, loves everything about this tournament. Certainly have a tough match ahead of me.

Q. She said you were her role model growing up. Is it special for you to see young players looking at everything you have done?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s very special to hear. She said that when we shook hands after the match. You’re always so focused on your job, winning that last point. It’s always really nice that your efforts are admired. We go about our days, our careers. You’re always acknowledged by fans. You’re asked to signed autographs, take selfies, all those things.
But to hear it from a young player that’s in the second round of a Grand Slam is always nice.

Q. You’ll probably prepare by getting some sleep. What in her playing style are you going to prepare for the most?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s always a physical match. She gets a lot of balls back. A great retriever of the game. Just incredibly solid. Does a lot of things well.
You kind of have to to be No. 1 in the world, to be a Grand Slam champion. I expect her to do all those things on Friday.

Q. Do you feel like you’re the underdog?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, relatively speaking on paper, if you’re looking at numbers, yeah, absolutely.

Q. Do you think now that she’s won a Grand Slam title that Caroline is a harder player to beat?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it’s tough to say. I think we all kind of go along our personal journeys. I haven’t played her since. Actually, we haven’t played each other in a long time. It’s tough to tell.
She’s No. 3 in the world. I mean, I think that speaks for itself in terms of her game, her confidence, everything else.

Q. Is focus important for you in practice to translate to your matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I’ve always felt like I have to practice at 200% in order to go in a match and play 100%. I always want to feel like the matches are the easy part.

Q. Two games in, are you happy with where your game is at now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think there’s certainly things I want to improve. I’ve been happy with the way I focused throughout the match, kept my concentration. As I said, two very different matches. It’s not easy to start one match at 11 a.m., then 48 hours later, a little bit more, to start one that’s just before midnight.
Just all those things, they’re about adjustments. I have that experience. So I’m happy that I’m able to come out into a match like this and say, I’ve done this before, I know the drill, I know how this goes, I’m ready, and I need to step it up. No matter what my opponent brings today, I have to get it done.

Q. You’ve had massive moments at slams. Do you feel at this stage of your career you need a win over somebody like a Wozniacki?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I need a what?

Q. A win over somebody like a Wozniacki at a slam.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s tough to tell because, I mean, if I’m looking at the past season, I only played 11 tournaments. What I really wanted was matches, whether it was against Wozniacki or not. Yeah, I want to be playing the top players. When you’re 30 in the world, 31, whatever I am right now, I’m going to be facing a top player in the third round. That’s the way the seeding goes.
That’s not the way I approach things. What I need, I need to be able to set myself up for the next round, and the next round is against Wozniacki.

Q. You said on court it’s past your bedtime. What is your bedtime?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: 10:30. Like in bed at 10:00, sleep by 10:30. My boyfriend challenges it quite a lot, but 10:30 is my time.