Australian Open 4th Round Interview

Q. I guess you’re happy to get into the quarters of such a maybe quick match to get ready for the next one?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, when you’re playing the match you’re not thinking about the next one. You’re thinking about the current match. I wasn’t thinking to try to finish it out as fast as I can. I just wanted to do the right things and play the right way. I thought I did a good, solid job of that.

Q. Looking forward to this next match, what do you expect out of Genie, who has been in pretty good form so far?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, she has been. She’s been playing really well in this tournament and also in the slams the last year. Really confident tennis and inspired form. I expect her to come out and play a really good match. I think we only played each other one time last year, which was at the French. That was a really tough match for me. I had to come back from being down one set to Love. Yeah, I’m sure she’ll come out and play extremely well.

Q. What makes her tough to play? In her game, what’s the toughest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: She’s a pretty aggressive player. She stays really close to the line, she likes to dictate the points. Yeah, I feel that’s where she’s hurt a lot of players and been really successful.

Q. She’s compared to you quite often for various reasons. Can you see the similarities and can you remember what it was like when you were coming through the same way?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think we all want to go through our own paths and we all want to — when I was coming up, I was compared to Kournikova for many years in my career and still occasionally name always comes up in interviews and articles. That’s just part of it, part of the game, part of the business. It’s understandable. It is what it is. As I have said, I believe I was still a teenager, I don’t want to be the next anyone. I want to be the first Maria Sharapova. And that’s how I’ve been throughout my whole career. And we all want to create our own path and go through our own career. And we’re all destined for some sort of thing. We work extremely hard at a sport, and that’s what we want to be known for.

Q. Do you see any of yourself in Genie?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I personally don’t know Genie very well. As a tennis player she’s a big competitor. She’s an aggressive player as well that likes to take the ball early and dictate points. From that perspective, yeah, definitely.

Q. Is there anybody who reminds you of you out here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t really thought about it.

Q. Talk about something about your Chinese opponent, Peng Shuai today.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, coming into the match I’ve had some trouble. I lost again Peng in my career before and I knew I had to start off the match really well. I think I did — I played solid. I don’t think I did anything spectacular, but felt that I was consistent. I served smart at times. I returned quite well. I think that really helped me. I think I won the right points at the right time and ultimately won the match.

Q. Do you think the past has anything to do with the present in the sense of if you’ve had particular success at one tournament, does that give you extra confidence in the moment in a match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Because of a particular place? Arena? Absolutely. I’ve had some of my greatest memories in Australia. I think consistency-wise it’s one of Grand Slams where I’ve done the best as well. I’ve always loved playing here ever since the juniors. I remember losing in the final and walking away and wishing I would be able to play on Rod Laver someday and not on Court 3. But, yeah, I’ve had a lot of tough memories as well and tough matches losses, but I’ve created some really good ones. I think when you go out there and have a chance to play on those big show courts, it brings all that back.

Q. Career Grand Slam, title every 12 years, one of only four women to have done that. What keeps you doing this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To win more, to achieve more, to expect more from myself, and to push myself over boundaries that I sometimes don’t think I can get through. Selfishly, especially as a woman, it is really a nice feeling to be good at what you do. When I step on the court, I have a great sense of feeling and power that I’m committed and dedicated and I love trying to do everything to get better in order to win the next tennis match. That’s why I still do it.

Q. I don’t know how close you still are with her. But did you hear about Maria Kirilenko getting married yesterday?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did actually. I’m not sure to who. I really don’t know. I mean, wonderful actually. Why are people laughing?

Q. People think it’s funny we don’t know who she married. We know she got married.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What happens in Russia stays in Russia. (Laughter.)

Q. Makarova was saying that she doesn’t necessarily like the spotlight. Is that something she’s going to have to further embrace if she’s going to be a consistent contender moving into these latter part of slams more often?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. I think she has to be careful what she wishes for. She’s set up for some great success, especially the court. She’s a player that’s always gone a little bit under the radar, but has produced some really good results in her career, especially at the US Open and already here. Yeah, I don’t think she should shy away from that.

Q. Victoria has been playing pretty well this week. Do you have an eye on her? Are you following some of her matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, it’s tough to follow each — a particular player that’s on the other side of the draw when you’re still in the quarterfinal of a tournament. I would love to watch during the tournament. They show a lot of matches, and I have watched a few points here and there. But I haven’t focused on one particular player.