Australian Open 4th Round Interview

Q. What was your health issue there at the end of the second set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have a bit of a strain the trainer told me in the hip area.

Q. How much was that troubling you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, those aches and pains are expected when you spend a long time on the court. Just have to play through it.

Q. When things weren’t going your way in the second and third set, what were you telling yourself to get back into the contest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t been playing the best tennis of this tournament, but I found ways to get through to the last two matches.
Tried to do that again today, but she played extremely well.

Q. Is it the same hip issue you had at Wimbledon? Do you think it’s the same area?

Q. How do you rate her chances going forward?

Q. Her chances.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Her chances. Yeah, I haven’t thought about it too much.

Q. When did the hip first start giving you trouble?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know a particular moment, but I think it was just because I played a lot. This is only my second tournament back, so it was those types of things that are expected. Just have to find a way to block them out.

Q. Given that it’s only your second tournament back, do you rate this as a success?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it’s a success in terms of that I’m back and that I’m healthy. That’s quite important. Otherwise I wouldn’t give myself a chance to play.
So on that note, yeah, I have to look at the positives and see where I have come from in four or five months. I haven’t played a lot of tennis in those six months.
So I certainly would have loved to play a little bit more before playing a Grand Slam, but this is the chance that I was given. I’m smart enough to be able to take it and acknowledge that I’m still pretty lucky to be in the draw and giving myself a chance to try to win it.

Q. Will you quantify what the hip problem prevented you from doing the last two sets? Was it movement?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t think it’s rocket science. Just when you play a lot of tennis, you’re going to get these types of aches and pains and certain movements that you feel it on.

Q. Is it a little extra disappointing in light of Serena being out of the draw? Hopping this might be a real chance?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not at all, no.

Q. How long does it take you to get over the disappointment? Like how long until you can start again or start looking forward to the next challenge?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: [] I have good self esteem when you speak. It’s really nice.

Q. You too.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What was the question? I was just admiring your form.

Q. Well, I admire yours. But in terms of disappointment, when you’re dealing with disappointment, how long does it take you to, like, I have lost today, how long does it take?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s tough. I will be genuine about it. It’s never easy. We are very big competitors. I think that’s why I have been so successful, is because my competitiveness in the past.
It’s moments like this that ultimately shape and you make you who you are, and that’s how you bounce back. It’s easy just to be successful, but it’s how many times you’re able to come back from the tough moments and losses and injuries that really define who you are as an athlete.
And that’s why I’m here, because I believe I still can be up there and certainly can play better, that’s for sure.

Q. Coming off not playing many matches the end of last year and already getting a fair number at the beginning of this year, are you planning on a full schedule this 2014, or are you thinking about phasing it out more maybe?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have never played a typical full schedule maybe compared to other players. I have been really smart about my schedule, and I think that’s worked for me in the past and I tried to stick to the same things.
Every year you have to adjust to how your body and your mind feels. Just because I missed, you know a large part of last year doesn’t mean I’m going to make up for it with more tournaments. That’s never been my thing.
But, you know, my schedule pretty much stays the same. I will probably be playing Paris instead of Doha, which I did last year.

Q. Because you played in such hot conditions earlier on in the tournament, do you think that might have taken a slight toll on your body?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I can’t use that as an excuse.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the second set? Topsy turvy. She raced to 5 0. You climbed back. Looked like the return game was maybe not your best return game of the match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That’s being nice. Let’s be honest (smiling).

Q. How big was that game for you? How big was that return game for you? Was that something she did or something on your racquet?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she hit two second serves I should have made and I didn’t. That would give her confidence and me not so much.

Q. Are you hard on yourself after losses like this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m pretty good about perspective, but I’m much better since I had shoulder surgery a few years ago. Before I took them kind of hard, but after that I’m pretty lucky.

Q. I notice that you went to the practice courts right away before your last match. In the past I haven’t really seen you that eager to be back on the court. You seem very motivated and you want to work hard. Is that something new for you, practicing more? Or practicing harder? And right after a match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, in that particular situation, I just wanted to get a good rhythm again, because I felt like I lost that throughout that match.
I don’t know if it’s any different. I mean, I came back from an injury and I feel happy to be – to give myself that opportunity to try to get back and play well, and I want to take it.
I don’t want to just – because I know if I’m going to be sitting around everyone else will take it. It’s either try and take it yourself, or just saying, you know, I can do other things in my life.
I have always been a go getter in my career, not just in tennis, and I still believe in that. I feel I have that type of motivation and drive, I’ll always be there.

Q. Are you going to stick around Melbourne as long as Grigor is in?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know what? I hope he stays as long as possible. I’m not sure what my traveling schedule is at the moment.