Indian Wells 2nd Round Interview

Q. How were the conditions out there? Was it windy or had it died down by the time you were playing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think they were much better than I expected, much better than I thought they would be. I was expecting it to be. I played some really in tough conditions here, few matches in my career over the many years I have been here.
So today was nowhere close to that, but it was cold, one of the colder nights.

Q. Does the cold bother your shoulder more than warm weather, or does it make a difference?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It felt good today. It takes a little more warming up than normal conditions.

Q. With all due respect to her game, she’s declined a bit; we can see that in her form. It’s not the same old Schiavone.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but she’s a tough first round, that’s for sure.
You know, no matter where she is in the rankings she has experience, has a Grand Slam, you know, behind her back. She likes those center court matches. She lives in those opportunities.
And her game is, you know, never an easy one. She makes you hit so many balls. Such a great slice.
But, again, that’s when she has time to do all that. I try to take that away from her, you know, right from the beginning.

Q. Let’s talk a little Sugarpova here. It’s pretty incredible what you have done mid‑career just getting into a whole new business venture, learning a lot of new things. Just talk about the experience. Is it the problem solving you like, overcoming obstacles, crunching the numbers, dealing with people? Just talk about the experience.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think learning, you know. One of the things that I have really picked up over the many years I have worked with different brands and people is that I never really had a solid education in my career, but I have always liked to listen and I have liked to learn.
That was my way of learning, is through being in so many different types of meetings, whether they were creative ones, whether they were with advertisement agencies, it was just ‑‑but at the end of it all, I was just a small part of all those big brands.
I knew that one day ‑‑ I certainly didn’t really think that it was going to be a couple of years ago ‑‑ I would start my own business.
Usually you would start something a lot quicker than two years, but it took two years, and I don’t regret any‑‑ you know, launching it earlier than I did, because it took that much to get it all together and make it into a quality product and something that I really believed in.

Q. Have you looked into like women entrepreneurs or anything like that, women who have really gone into the business world?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I respect women that start something with a creative idea. I mean, Dylan Lauren is a great example of that. I have actually got to meet her and I have been to many of her candy stores. She’s a fun personality.
You really have to be passionate for something to be successful. I always saw her passion. I met her when I was 19 or 20 years old at a Vogue event, and, yeah.

Q. There is a pretty big and talented, it looks like, group of young American women coming up, kind of like when they were Russia a few years ago there were a lot of young talented Russians. Does it help when there are other girls in your country that push you? Do you compete that way? Do you think it makes a difference?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I do. I think that definitely helps. It helps having, you know, compatriots but also your competitors that not only set an example for you, but that you’re competitive with enough to raise your own level to want to beat them, to want to be better.
It’s also, especially at that age, you know, when you’re 18, 19 years old, you’re very competitive. You want to almost be that first one to, you know, whether it’s to win a slam or get far in a slam, you know, get farther in the rankings than the rest, prove yourself a little bit in a way.
But there is also a very thin line of achieving a great result in one event and having so much, you know, hype around you and excitement that you almost can’t control your emotions, you know.
I mean, you saw a great example of Melanie Oudin who had an incredible US Open, beat me, beat so many other great players, and now she’s struggling to get back that form for a few years now.
So consistency for younger players is one of the biggest keys to becoming a successful player.

Q. Back to your business, why did you choose candy? You could have chosen any product you wanted.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I wanted to do something that was different, that was very unexpected. You know, I have been part of, you know, clothes collaboration and done things with accessories from Japanese brands to Cole Haan to working on my own collection and Nike. I even had a perfume back many years ago.
So I wanted this to be something unique. And when the name came about right away, I knew that it was going to be candy, yeah.

Q. So the name came before the candy?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The name came before the candy.

Q. Who came up with the idea of the name?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, Jeff Rubin, who is actually our consultant in the whole business, he had a meeting with Max about a completely different idea.
He owns sugar stores in the U.S. and around the world, and we were trying to trying to figure out a way to work together. Actually, Jeff was the one that just kind of said the name in the meeting, and Max, you know, right away called me as he‑‑ when he closed the door out of that meeting, he’s like, You have to own this.
I started laughing. I thought it was ‑‑I mean, it it makes me laugh to this day when people say the name. You know, I just want to giggle.

Q. Do you have a sweet tooth?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do. It’s very bad.

Q. Can you see Sugarpova expanding into things like chocolates, ice cream, something like that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not at this point. I see it expanding more into different businesses, whether it’s fashion or cosmetics down the line.
But I want to get ‑‑I mean, even though it’s been, you know, beyond my expectations, there are still so many things and so many markets that we need to get, you know. Where now we have 12 SKUs, and we’re adding three more in a few weeks. There are so many things to be done.
Right now we are trying to get around the world, and that takes‑‑ to get into one country takes at least three to four months before their own food and drug organization, you know, approves everything and ingredients. Certain countries you have to change certain ingredients for it to be sold there, the labels in different countries have to be changed. So many things you don’t even think about.

Q. What does your dentist think about this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t been to the dentist in a while and I’m afraid to go.

Q. What about the American boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard, who is an avid tennis player? Thinking maybe endorsement?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’ll have to send him a few samples.

Q. You spent a lot of time in Florida. You spent time in LA. Which of the two big tournaments here this time of year feels more like the home tournament for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Miami has a really special place in my heart because it’s where I landed for the first time in the United States as a little girl, and I went to the tournament every single year with my parents when I was training in Florida.
You know, we would drive up, and I have so many pictures every year where I would take in front of of the fountain with my mom and my dad. So that feels very close to home to me.
But this is‑‑ you know, this is also where so many friends from Southern California are able to drive up and watch me play; whereas, they’re not able to do that anywhere else.

Q. I saw a picture the other day with Eugenie Bouchard, the young Canadian. A few years ago you see these players that were like little girls taking a photo with you, and now they’re like on the tour.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I know. It’s scary, and I’m still here.

Q. You have such a, I don’t know, a great presence when you just walk out on the court. Just talk about walking out onto all these great arenas, just the first steps you take, the interaction or the rush you get. Which of the courts do you love the most to walk out on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think the most unique to walk out onto is the US Open night matches. It’s just the most unique feeling. I think there is a buzz. You feel the buzz and the energy of the people, and there is nothing like a NewYork crowd.

Q. Coming through that corridor, too?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s more just the first few steps that you take, you know, out there. You just see the flash bulbs, and that was the ‑‑ I think that was part of the reason why I just felt so great in that dress I wore and the dress that I won, because when we were talking about it so much, I was always saying how special it is, you know, the second that you walk out on the court and people right away want to know what you’re wearing. And then you take off your jacket and so it’s that moment. Yeah, I definitely think it’s that.

Q. You were so dominant tonight. At what point did you realize this is going to be a quick match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You never know that until the match is over. We broke each other back and forth in the beginning of the first set, and then, you know, she had a few opportunities in the beginning.
But, you know, once I started being a little bit more aggressive I felt like I had an edge on her.
This is a long tournament. As a seeded player, you have six matches. If you do well here you have another tournament ahead of you. The philosophy is you want to get your job done, and if it takes three hours, that’s what it takes.

Q. As far as the court aspect is concerned and walking out, US Open more so than Wimbledon when you’re walking out and everybody just rises in unison? Is it more the fact that you wore that dress on that night in NewYork?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, at Wimbledon there is no announcement of the players. It’s the feeling that, you know, it’s more of the respect factor from the crowd.
In New York it’s the energy that you feel. You know, the greatest part about Wimbledon is there is no introductions. There’s, you know, no description of what you have achieved. It’s just, bam, you’re out there. You’re out on the court, warming up, finish your warmup and you’re ready, go play.