Beijing 2nd Round Interview

Q. Compared with the first‑round match, it’s very much easy for you to win today. What kind of adjustment did you make after first round? It’s the first time for you to play with this opponent. What’s your comments on her performance today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have never faced this opponent before. She has had good results, has beaten top players before, and she’s one of the players that can come out and have a great day.
You know, she hits the ball really flat and hard. You know, I tried to, you know, play aggressive and play my game and maybe try and figure out her rhythm a little bit from the beginning, especially not playing with her before.
But, yeah, I was happy I played a shorter match than the first round.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Which parts of your game pleased you the most today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was just happy I took her time away today. I think she’s someone that really likes to be aggressive and get the first shot, and, you know, hit it really hard, as she can. I think it was really important to try to take that away from her.
You know, I thought I served really well today, much better than the first round. Yeah, I got some free points off of that.

Q. You’re playing Hercog next. Have you played her before?

Q. What do you know about her? What are you expecting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have never played against her. You know, I think she has a big game but also a different game, you know, hits a lot of slice off the backhand, you know, has a big forehand.
So, you know, it’s also like coming into today’s match, try to figure your opponent out from the beginning and maybe concentrate what you have to do and not so much about her, because you can get a little bit carried away thinking you’ve never faced her before, what it’s going to be like.
I think it’s just a matter of keeping that goal ahead of you and not thinking about it too much.

Q. Can you talk about how fun it is to be in business with your agent Max, which is actually sitting over there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: How fun it is?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, goodness. It’s fun. It’s also stressful sometimes. I get mad at him a lot of times. He gets mad at me. It’s a good thing we don’t see each other too often, just the right amount of time. It’s like the perfect relationship. (Laughter.)
But, yeah, we have worked together for many years, and, you know, we kind of know what to expect from each other. We both work really hard at what we do. You know, it’s been a fun partnership.

Q. If you want to give a brief introduction about Sugarpova to the Chinese fans, which flavor you will want them to know? Which flavor you like most?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, my flavors have changed because I had a favorite, and now it’s called Quirky. But I think I ate so much of it that I needed to change and I needed a new favorite.
So right now I would say my favorite is Spooky because it’s Halloween soon. They’re like spiders.
I told my agent yesterday, I said, I’m craving, you know‑ no offense to the Chinese food‑ but I’m really craving some Sugarpova yesterday. He told me if I had a good match he’d give me one, so he gave me my favorite after the match.

Q. (In Chinese) A lot of fans were waiting for you outside. Will those fans produce some influence to your practice? And you are the hot spot with Djokovic in China Open, so do you have a very good close watch on the performance of Djokovic because you are close friends privately?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To be honest, I didn’t even know he was in the tournament. (Laughter.)
It’s funny. It’s a women’s and men’s event, but I haven’t actually seen ‑‑I don’t spend too much time at the court, so I don’t know what’s going on half the time, who’s playing and who’s not. I just need to know when my match is.
The first question, it’s been great to see that support. I mean, you’re in the match, you’re at practice, the fans are so enthusiastic. I think it’s such a unique experience because they really appreciate what you do, and they’re rooting for you and making these collages that probably take hours to make, and they’re singing songs.
It’s just‑‑ you know, I wasn’t here last year, so it’s nice to see that coming into this year.

Q. Recently you came out against grunting. That’s a pretty big part of your game. How would you make…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What have I done?

Q. You recently came out against grunting.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh. I thought you said I did karate. (Laughter.)
Q.Well, do you do karate?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, that’s why I was really surprised.

Q. So if the WTA does start enforcing a grunt limit, how would you make that change in your game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, they’re not enforcing a grunt limit to the active players. They’re enforcing it towards the younger generation that is starting tennis and educating the academies and coaches around the world, you know, to teach them certain breathing methods and techniques that will eventually become their habits and not something that you take away or change in a player that’s been playing a certain way for many years.

Q. You just took part in a few games, but you won lots of games and you won the second place in WTA. Do you think this is a better way than took part in lots of games?
THE MODERATOR: Tournaments. You haven’t played as many tournaments but you’re still No. 2.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have had pretty much the same schedule over however many years. I think I’m one of the few players that don’t play so many tournaments. Just physically and mentally I’m, you know, I’m not a player that can go out and play 26, 25 tournaments a year.
You know, I try to get ready for the bigger ones, and, you know, I think it’s important to gear up for the ones that are meaningful to you and understand, you know, how ‑‑understand what your body responds to in terms of being healthy for those tournaments and giving yourself a break at the right times, having training blocks in between because that’s really important to get your body ready.
Also, I’m not 16, 17 years old anymore. I’m in the middle of my career. You know, I don’t see myself traveling for the amount of many weeks that some of the players do.