Australian Open 2nd Round Interview

Q. Some people have described the courts as inhumane to play on. Others said they felt like they were going to die on court. How do you feel after that epic hot match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there is no way getting around the fact that the conditions were extremely difficult, and have been for the last few days.
It’s a tough call. I mean, I think the question I have is no one really knows what the limit is. Not the players; the trainers themselves, when you ask them, When will the roof be closed?
No one actually knows what that number is in comparison to humidity or the actual heat. Sometimes you wish you know, because it’s it just depends on I’m not sure who, a referee or the meteorologist, and there are just a lot of questions in the air that maybe, you know, should be solved.
Because I asked the trainer the other day, What does it take for the roof to be closed or matches to be stopped? She said, We have no control over this.

Q. Do you think it was unsafe to be playing out there in those conditions?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think at that point you’re not thinking whether it’s safe or not. You’re trying to get through the match in the best possible way.
No matter how you’re playing, you’re trying to make it as safe as possible, yeah.

Q. Should the roof have been closed from the start of the morning, knowing it was going to be 44 degrees?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know so much about from the morning. Maybe at 11:00 a.m. it wasn’t as warm as towards the end of the match. But I think the question is from the second to the third set.
That’s because everyone knows there is no tiebreaker in the third set, so once you start that set, you’re going to be out there until you’re done. That’s the question I have.

Q. Can you tell what you say your body was saying to you? What feelings you had?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, on one hand you’re trying to get as much rest in between points as you can, but then you have an umpire who is giving you a time violation.
Then you’re asking yourself whether that’s fair, as well in whatever degree weather that was (Laughter.)
So there is that mixed emotion of, Okay, I need to get in the shade, but then I need to be there when the time is up to be able to serve or return or whatever it is.
There is a bit of pressure on the line, as well, in those conditions. Anywhere else, it’s fine. You know, if that’s the speed of the game that’s absolutely fine. But in these conditions, I mean, let it go, but…

Q. In all the circumstances, how pleased are you with the way you battled through today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m really happy to get through. I really am. I worked really hard in the last few months and I wanted this match. I didn’t play my best tennis; I didn’t do many things well.
I got through it, and sometimes that’s what’s important. I did.

Q. After an incredible performance like this, does it ever go through your mind, you talk to yourself, What incredible toughness? I really gritted it out? Do you have a self pride? Talk about what goes through your mind about pulling through.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, in the moment you have so many mixed emotions because you have opportunities and chances, and then you’re down and then you feel you’re out. So you’re going through all of this within these three hours or more.
I don’t know. I went through all the different ones, like, How could you miss those second serve returns? Why are you going for so much? The other side of my brain, Well, it’s 110 degrees. Of course you’re going for too much (smiling).
I don’t know. When you win match point you get off the court, no matter how you feel and how tough it was, I really, I love these moments. That’s why I play the sport.

Q. Do you congratulate yourself?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not just myself, but my team. We worked really hard all together. Sometimes you’ve got to be really gritty to pull through no matter how tough it is. I think we all did it together.

Q. In 2007 you had that match against Camille Pin, 9 7 in the third. You were on IV for I think for three hours after that. Today was a lot longer and hotter. Does it say your fitness has much improved since then?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Maybe (smiling).

Q. Can you talk about it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I would think so. I would think the game has become more physical. I think everyone has had to adapt to that and be stronger and work a lot off the court and prepare yourself for these types of situations.
It’s always tough to know what to expect when you actually get in that type of moment, but the preparation you do beforehand is extremely important.

Q. After this huge game, how do you get back up for the next round?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just recovery. Make sure the body will be ready. Take it easy tomorrow. That’s the beauty of a Grand Slam: you have that day in between.

Q. Do you think the officials owe it to the players to tell you when enough is enough or to know when the roof can be closed? You talked about the confusion as to why it wasn’t closed in the second and third set.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It would be nice. I mean, I would love to know a bit more detail before not even before I get on the court, but just in general it’s good to know. I didn’t even know there was no play when I left the court. I mean, I had no idea.
But it seems a little strange that the WTA Tour trainers don’t know what that threshold is.

Q. Were you surprised by the way Knapp played? Did you know anything about her before?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I didn’t. I never played against her or practiced. I thought she played really great tennis as the match went on.
I have seen some of her matches in the past, but I thought she played really great and played very free with nothing to lose. And she played a lot tougher, you know, than maybe other matches that I have seen her play.

Q. You looked up at your box today to Sven. What does he means to you at the moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: At that moment, I’m not really sure. I mean, there is not much communication going on there, but he’s quite a calm personality. You know, he observes and takes it in.
You know, I love the team that’s sitting there and, you know, and it would mean a lot to me to achieve, you know, a lot of things with all of them.

Q. How close do you think it was to being unsafe or unplayable today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s not for me to determine, because I had to play and I had to finish the match and do it the best I can. It’s not the best conditions, but I don’t want to complain.
Even if I lost the match that wouldn’t be the reason, because there is still somebody across the net that’s facing the same type of conditions.

Q. As a general concept, do you think players should perhaps be consulted a little bit more about conditions? I mean, you’re the ones out there actually running around. Nobody sitting in a suit in here is doing that. Do you think perhaps there is enough communication with the players about the conditions?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not sure. That’s a good question. I’m not sure there is.
We have never received any e mails or, you know, warnings about the weather or what to do.
Actually, I did receive one, I think, while I was in the ice bath a few minutes ago, and I was like, That’s a little too late. (Laughter.) It was a little late.
It was probably when they were stopping the matches, like, Oh, maybe it’s about time we sent out a warning (smiling).

Q. So is there are different type of satisfaction when you’ve won like a survival of the fittest type of contest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think you have to admit that we all had to be pretty fit in order to be there in that last game, still competing the way that we were.
I don’t think it was about who was the fittest. It was just about who was able to win two points. For her and I to be out there after three and whatever hours and still be able to display some points and run and hit, doesn’t mean that she wasn’t fit.

Q. You said you didn’t know that the other matches had stopped when you came off. If it’s deemed too hot to play, do you think matches should stop then rather than having to continue for the rest of the set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not sure about that, but I think in the third set for the women and the fifth set for the men, if you know that there is no tiebreaker, you cannot officials can’t just rely on maybe the set will go fast and the set will be over and will we will be off court, because we have no tiebreaker in that last set. So that’s what you have to consider.

Q. So there should be some limit if you get to a certain amount of games?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think our match was an example of that. If it was a tiebreaker it would have been over quicker, but you can just keep going.

Q. In extreme conditions like this, do you think the rule for the amount of time between points a player can take should be extended or suspended?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think so. I think it should be for the safety of the players, definitely.

Q. Do you worry there might be repercussions for you in later matches because of the time you spent on court today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Listen, I was up a set and a break and I had many opportunities to finish the match faster. So I would have loved for it to finish faster, but that’s what I got and I have to deal with the circumstances. I’m all right with that.
I’m a competitor here, and I worked hard to get through that match. I will have to work just as hard to get through the next ones.

Q. On a day when maybe your serve wasn’t at its best, do you ever think, Just get it in, or is it always, Go full speed, plan A?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think today a lot of it, not just the serves and second serve returns that I was missing that I shouldn’t have that would have created so many opportunities for me.
But I think just the conditions didn’t help in terms of being a little bit safer and not having to go for so much in those moments.