Q. Did you feel comfortable out there tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Did it look like it?
Q. I just didn’t think you were quite there.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely wasn’t there. You know, not many things were working. I think it was just one of those days. Yeah, just not a good day at the office.
Q. Even if it wasn’t a good day at the office are you optimistic that there will be good days very soon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course. I could look at it in so many different ways. Obviously I, you know, could look at it that I played a really bad match and sit there and pinpoint every single bad thing that I did.
You can also look at other things and take away the good things throughout the week and try to improve on that. Last year I was gone on Monday, and, you know, stayed here a little bit longer this year.
So, yeah, this is the beginning of the year. I always look forward to many things, whether I lose easy, whether I win easy. Always have to look ahead.
Q. Could you perhaps talk a little bit about your decision to bring Thomas Hogstedt in and watch you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, I had the same team and, you know, a similar voice for many years, over six years. I just felt like I needed a little bit of a fresher voice and a different perspective, not someone that’s going to come in and change my game or do something drastic.
But I brought in Thomas because one of the things is because I knew him over the last few years. I’ve gotten to know him working with him a little bit with Haas at the academy in Florida. He brings a really good work ethic to the table, which is important.
Last year I felt like I was lacking a little bit of that because of the results that I just wasn’t getting or wanted to do better and was getting a little bit down on myself.
He’s really a positive influence. You know, really believes in me. He’s watched me play throughout the years. Yeah, he’s really professional. He knows I’m a pretty private person, and he sticks to what he feels he needs to do on the court.
We have our dinners and, yeah, it’s good. I’m enjoying it. I think I can learn a lot of things from him.
Q. Since you have always been a proud player…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Proud?
Q. Yeah, proud of your story, your being No. 1 and all this.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, if I wasn’t there would be something wrong with me.
Q. No. I’m just asking you if you suffer from not being anymore at the top where you were, if it’s really painful, or since you have already reached many, many goals you are anyhow satisfied?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I can say there are a lot of more painful things in life than losing a tennis match. I think that’s a pretty realistic thing to say. I think there’s a lot more in life than hitting a tennis ball.
We can talk about so many cases around the world. I think we’re all pretty fortunate to be able to do what we do, win or lose. Obviously wins bring you a lot of smiles and laughter, but this is sport.
Q. Still, it’s your career…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s your career and your choice. I have achieved, like you said, done many things in my career. I’ve won many matches and been No. 1 in the world, and also had an opportunity to say that I’ve had enough.
You know, I could do many other things in my life. I have enough money; I have a great family around me. But when I was away from the sport, everything I wanted to do was to wake up in the morning and not put my ballerinas on, but to put on my Nikes and go out there and run and play.
When it was taken away from me, I realized how much I loved it. When you go through it every single day, you almost forget a little bit. You take a step back and, you know, I miss this. I really wanted it.
If you’re not in the draw, you never give yourself an opportunity to be a champion.
Q. Today Francesca Schiavone is going to be No.4 in the world and she’s more than 30 years old, which means you can go out even when you’re much older.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely.
Q. Does that send a message for you, says anything to you, or since you got everything when you were 18 it’s enough?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely not. I think it’s an incredible message that she portrays for not only people playing on the tour, but young stars that are coming up. I think everyone has a different time where they shine, where they show their best tennis. For everyone it’s different.
Look, I was very fortunate that I got to not only get opportunities when I was young, but take them. There’s a difference between having them and also being able to take them.
I think she’s an incredible champion. She won the French Open last year in great style. She obviously proved it today out there against Sveta. Yeah, even at that age, shows you how fit she is.
Q. This is about the quality of game, that we can have a match today of 4 hours and 44 minutes, the longest…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is that how long it was?
Q. Yeah, longest match of all time in Grand Slam history.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I think it just shows that no matter what, if we’re in the fourth round or the first, in the final, that is why they put the nets up in the morning is to play that match. Doesn’t matter what you’re seeded, ranked, who you’re playing. That’s why they open up that tennis can and have those umpires and the net goes up and the match is in front of you.
No matter who the favorite is, you got to finish it. I think it was a great display of tennis. I didn’t see a lot of it.
Q. Two questions: Looking back, was it a bit of a risk to take a break from Michael before a slam? Two, I know you did not want to talk about the match before, but what didn’t you bring to the table tonight that could have been more effective?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The second question, I mean, there are many things that didn’t work today. I didn’t get my first breakpoint until it was a set and 5 1. That’s not the type of tennis I want to be playing, especially on the return. I mean, I didn’t put any pressure on her serve whatsoever. I wasn’t up Love 30 or anything on her service games. That’s not the way to play a match.
And the first question, I mean, I think it was the right thing to do. I don’t regret it. I think my whole team knew that it was the right thing to do.
Q. So looking forward, coming out of here, it is a major and I know it’s the beginning of the year, but to achieve your goals this year, what are you going to have to do to get better and compete at the level you’re capable of playing at?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think bring a little bit more consistency to the table. I was happy that I was down the last two matches and able to find the level again and do the right things to win the match and pick it up. I wasn’t able to bring that today.
I think that’s I didn’t build on what I gained in the last two matches. I think that’s really important, something that maybe has been lacking a little bit.
Also just the beginning, you know, the beginning was a little bit dead as well in the match. It’s something that I definitely have to improve on.