Beijing 3rd Round Interview

Maria lost to Simona Halep (ROU) (2) 2-6 2-6

Q. Which part of your game you are not content with yourself in the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Look, first of all, I think she played an incredible match, probably the best she’s played against me in all of our previous meetings. And I wasn’t as sharp. I wasn’t seeing the ball as well. I wasn’t moving up and down as well as I have been against her.
She was hitting the ball consistently, not making a lot of unforced errors, her service percentage was quite high. She did all the right things.

Q. Compared to the US Open meeting, what do you think is the difference?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, pretty similar to my first answer, I think (smiling).
As I said, I wasn’t as sharp. I didn’t see the ball that well. She was consistent. She hit quite deep consistently. When I found myself far from the baseline, I didn’t do a good job of coming back in the court. Credit to her, she kept me back there with her consistency.
Yeah, it was a combination of things.

Q. Looking forward, what is next for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Tianjin, that’s my next tournament.

Q. On Halep’s serve today, she served incredibly well, much better than in New York. Was it just a percentage issue? Was it better as a serve in terms of placement and speed? How can you break down that particular aspect of the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think her percentage was over 70. I haven’t seen the stat, but that’s what it felt like. And, yeah, I didn’t get too many looks. The reason I say that is because I didn’t get as many looks on the second serve. I think that was definitely a factor today.
She was just consistently solid, doing the right things, yeah.

Q. This is a more generic question. Is caring in terms of staying in the moment, the little details of being competitive, a thing of the moment, or does it have little to do with the result?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Sorry, can you repeat that.

Q. Is caring, focusing on the little details when competing, a thing of the moment, not something to do with the result?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, I think at the end we’re all a bit result-oriented because we’re in a sport. Of course, results matter, based on if you win a match or lose a match, how you move forward, what you learn and gain from each match.
I mean, I enjoy being in the moment and learning from each moment, trying to find ways. Whether I’m up in the match or down in a match, trying to figure out what I have to do to keep that going or turn things around, so…

Q. Is there anything specific on your serve this week or today that wasn’t clicking as usual, or was it just her being better than usual on the return?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, she didn’t give me many unforced errors. I’m not talking about her return, but just in general. I thought she was aggressively solid, not making a lot of unforced errors, just seeing the ball extremely well.
She was sharp and I wasn’t. That’s how I felt coming off the match. It’s only been 45 minutes. I’ll look at the tape and maybe I’ll have a different perspective, but that’s how it felt being in that moment.

Q. In your book you commented that players don’t really love tennis or hate tennis. Other players have gotten flak saying that tennis is just a job for them, or they play at a fraction of their ability and make a great living out of it. As someone who always fights on court, what do you think of players who don’t give it all they have? Is it disrespectful to the sport?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think in order to be a tennis player, you have to be doing somewhat of a good job. Like, no one that is here is not doing a good job. The level is too high. It’s too physical, too mental. You just won’t make it. Hard work is not good enough any more. Maybe it was I don’t know how many years ago, but that’s just not a factor any more.
The reason I say that is, I mean, there’s some incredible moments, very high moments, and there are very low moments. There have been times where I get off the court and you think, I don’t wish this on my future child. The feeling is so tough and disappointing. You work so much, you dedicate so much of your time, you have so many people around you, and sometimes it doesn’t work according to plan, so you start asking questions.
But then once you work, you keep going, keep fighting through it, the rewards are very incredible and special. They have nothing to do with finance, they have nothing to do with trophies, it’s really internal. I think sport gives people something that nothing really else can replicate. I think that’s what makes it so great.

Q. I’m sure you heard the news about Dan Evans in the UK. Obviously it’s a different case from yours. Given that he has a long spell out, what advice would you give to him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know much about his case, so I don’t think it would be fair for me to comment on a case or give opinions on a case on which I don’t have any facts on.