Beijing 1st Round Interview

Q. What are your thoughts on your match as a whole?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I thought I played a difficult opponent, someone that I’ve had trouble against in the past. She’s capable of playing really well, has beaten top players before in her career. She dropped a little in her rankings this year, but overall I knew it was a challenging first‑round opponent and I thought I handled that quite well considering I didn’t have a great result last week.
So, yeah, I started off the match quite well and followed through with that.

Q. What is your mindset through the rest of the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, the goal is to improve, to create your own confidence, your own luck out there, to create your own chances and obviously take them, take your opportunities. Just be aggressive but with the right mindset, I guess.

Q. You had six double‑faults. Is that too many for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I actually thought I served quite well today. I was very aggressive. You know, I put a lot of pressure on her. I’m usually somebody that goes for my serve. If I make more errors, I feel more confident knowing that I’m going for it rather than just making my opponent hit a ball. That’s always been my philosophy.
Of course, I don’t want to see that number very high. But overall I thought in key moments I served quite well today.

Q. You played the China Open a couple years ago. What makes this year very unique coming back to Beijing this time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, as I said in Wuhan, it’s been a couple years since I’ve played in China. The first thing I notice is how many great fans I have here. They’re following me from practice to the matches, all of them with different signs and pictures. They’re quite enthusiastic. You miss that because it’s a really nice feeling to have their support. You know that they follow you through the years. It’s always nice to play in front of them.

Q. Also the China Open is a combined tournament. We have the male players. Compared with Wuhan last week, what is the difference in your mind? Do you get more energy because there are more players or do you feel this is a good chance to catch up maybe with other players?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I enjoy when tournaments are combined. I think from a fan’s perspective it’s always nice having the men and women competing in the same week. And this is also a big enough, I’d say, arena that it accommodates all the matches. Sometimes we played in combined events where you only have a couple of stadium courts, so the scheduling becomes a little bit tighter than maybe some players want.
But I think here the facilities are big enough to accommodate a men’s and women’s event, and that makes it great, yeah.

Q. This time for your boyfriend, it’s the first time to come to the China Open. What is your feeling? After your competition, will you go to some attractions in Beijing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, right now I think both of us are focused on the tournament that’s in front of us. I have a few less tournaments than he does towards the end of the season, so right now is not really the time for those attractions or things to see. It’s our workplace and we’re trying to make the most out of it.