Beijing 1st Round Interview

Q. Based on your current ranking, it should be very much easy for you to defeat a opponent, but the whole procedure is not that relaxed as we expected. How are you going to make an adjustment into your fitness?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think that’s one of the reasons why there is a draw and we go out and play matches is because you still have to go out there no matter what your ranking is or your opponent’s and you have to try and win the match.
Certainly the scoreline was quite, you know, difficult, you know, but I was up in those two sets and I let her get back into it, you know. But at the end of the day I won the match in two sets. I’m happy to be through.

Q. Actually for the two sets today you eventually made the win possible. The second question is: Actually the audience and the court are going to cheer for you. Would you bother to make an evaluation to those fans?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I was certainly‑‑ you know, I put myself in a good position in both of those sets being up a break, and I let her back in the match a couple of times.
That’s certainly, you know, not the best thing, not exactly I’m proud of it, but the good thing was I was able to regain my focus and win that match no matter how good she was coming back and playing.
But I certainly ‑‑it’s been a couple of years since I played here. The support today was incredible, you know, even from the practice courts to the match. It’s been really, really nice to see how many fans I have here.
You know, you travel around the world, but, you know, you play so many tournaments, but really the appreciation of tennis here has been really nice to see. They are so enthusiastic, and everyone wants autographs and pictures. It’s just nice to see.

Q. Actually, for one game you should have the break point. At that point audience said, Maria, I love you, so would that influence you at that moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not really.

Q. After you got French Open title, you got the Grand Slam, so I want to understand what might be your next goal.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I have a lot of goals. I don’t usually like to talk about my goals. I just like to work for them, and when I achieve them, then I like to talk about them, that it’s a goal that I really wanted to achieve and accomplish.
But the reason I play this sport is because I believe that I could be better, that I could win more Grand Slams. I’m still very young, I have the passion and energy for it. That’s what keeps me going. I have a lot of things in my life that tennis has brought me, but I still feel like there is a lot more that I can accomplish in the sport.

Q. I think in the WTA ranking, actually a lot of young juniors is catching up. Do you feel a lot of pressure from those junior players? How are you going to still keep very good fitness faced with those pressures?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I have been on the tour for many years. I started as a young teenager, and I’m 25 years old now. I feel like I have seen a lot of different generations.
The reality of it is it’s not like your generation is going to be the only one playing tennis. You’re always going to see new up‑and‑comers and talent, you know, great players that are juniors and that are making the transition from the juniors to the pros, you know, and it’s part of it.
When you retire, there’s always going to be somebody that takes your place in the rankings and the draws. That’s just the reality of it. I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. When I came up, you know, you had Justine and Kim and the Williamses, and I felt I was kind of the younger of the bunch. Now I’m somewhere in the middle.
You see a couple of retirements, some are still playing, and then you see a younger generation. I’m really kind of smack in the middle.
THE MODERATOR: English questions, please.

Q. There was a point in the first set where you dropped a few games and you called your coach over. After that you were able to come back and win the first set. What did your coach say to you, and how did you get the mental toughness to overcome that and win the set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think in moments like that, you know, especially in situations when you find yourself up and then losing a few games, it’s more of a motivation thing and just for him to come out and give you a little bit of positive words and motivation and energy.
Really, it’s not like they’re going to say something that’s going to change things around so much, because when you’re in the third set and it’s 5‑All, 6‑All, you know, you’re not really going to pay attention to anything around you. You really go out and play with instinct.
In a moment like that, he just said to keep going for it. You lost your concentration a little bit. You started the match really well. There’s no reason why you can’t get that momentum back.