Indian Wells 3rd Round Interview

Q. Was it a routine win or was it tough out there today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought it was a tough one, you know, I thought. She’s a quality player. She’s capable of playing really good tennis. I think this is, you know, the best that she’s been ranked. As far as consistency, this is the most consistent she’s‑‑ the results have been so consistent in the last year.
She’s dangerous. She’s beaten top players in Grand Slams before, you know. She has a really solid game, a lot of variety, but she can hit the ball, as well.
A few things that I definitely want to improve for the next one. But, yeah, I was happy I got through on not a great day.

Q. She’s a name you really don’t want to see early in a tournament just because she has the potential to…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think, you know, she’s one of the players that when she has nothing to lose I think she’s a bit more free and doesn’t think too much. She can be quite dangerous.

Q. Any explanation for how you signed the camera after the match, or is that just going to be a secret?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that’s pretty much staying here. (Indicating by her face.)

Q.Women’s tennis is a sport that’s built on great champions, like Billie Jean King, Chris, Martina, Seles, Graf. For the fun of it, if you could go back and play one match against one great champion who you never played, who would you enjoy doing that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Probably against Steffi. I admired her game. I admired her focus.
I’d probably say Monica, but I have played Monica before, and just because I got to see a little bit of her game and how she played when I was young and a junior, you know, towards the end of her career. You know, she’s very professional and very businesslike, and I admired that of her.

Q. Do you have to attack her slice backhand or just…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, that would be tricky. I think it would be tricky till this day for anyone.

Q. There aren’t that many one‑handed backhands in the game, so when you prepare to play somebody like a Suarez Navarro or a lefty, how much practice do you put in before with with a practice partner that has that sort of different type of shot?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A little more, definitely, just because they’re able to open the court a little bit more with the angle and they use the slice a lot more when they’re a one‑hander. I think it’s more about working‑‑ you know, having someone hit you a few more slices than usual in practice, because most one‑handers, they usually have a pretty good slice.
Yeah, against me they like to use that. You know, make sure I practice that before the match.

Q. The noise you make when you hit the ball, the USTA and the ITF are thinking about squashing that or eventually removing any ability to make any noise when you hit. What are your thoughts about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: What does squashing mean?

Q. Squashing means you won’t be able to do it.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, that’s interesting. That’s a new one. I learned that today.
Well, I agree with ‑‑ you know, I agree with the plan. You know, I’m all for it, you know, if that’s something that ‑‑it’s one thing when you tell someone to stop doing something in the middle of someone’s career when you’ve done it for a really long time.
It’s another thing to put it in the minds of coaches and young players and juniors especially that are just starting that have a lot of time to change things, such as something in their game or their breathing technique.
But, yeah, I’m all for it.

Q. You talk sometimes of getting a kind of education away from the classroom.

Q. Of the different companies you have dealt with ‑ and there have been so many ‑ which company do you think you have learned the most from or which is the most interesting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think the most work that I have put in was probably Cole Haan because I worked really hard to make that happen in the first place. You know, I really wanted that. I wanted that collaboration, and it took a couple years for it to happen.
Once I got the belief and the trust from, you know, the people within the brand and they saw the success and once we started, I was able to really be involved with it.
Yeah, we created some really great collections, you know.

Q. Would you be a good corporate boss, do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, that’s scary, to think about it like that. I don’t like being the boss, because I think the one thing that I have learned is that it’s a team effort in every single business. It’s not about one person doing a collection. It’s a collaboration between so many within the company and so many minds and so many ideas.
No one knows everything. No one person. So it takes a lot of great thoughts and ideas to come together on the table and create something.

Q. Have you ever met Tim Gunn?

Q. Do you watch that show?

Q. Talk about Nike. They have worked with so many tennis players, back to McEnroe and Agassi. What’s the dynamic there? Do they have a number of teams? Is it a creative process?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it is. Well, the creative process, it always changes, because I have gone through a few different teams within the brand. You know, in fashion, the one thing that’s kind of frustrating is that everyone always moves on to different positions.
Once you get used to working with a few people, they’re always looking, you know, towards something that’s higher and bigger and better. Which you’re happy for them, but then you’re ‑‑you know, you kind of start a working relationship and then you have to change.
That’s happened a few times, and that’s part of the business. It’s a learning process.
But, I mean, ever since I got my collection it’s been one of the best things I have been able to be a part of, because it’s ‑‑ you know, you’re not creating just something for yourself. You’re creating for a 14‑year‑old girl, you’re creating for someone that plays doubles at a club, and everything that you make has to work for them all.
That’s the biggest challenge, and creating pieces that are unique to what’s out on the market and making sure that the quality is right, that it’s done, you know, with the details that you envision from the beginning and that nothing is overseen.
Yeah, so that’s been fun, because no one on the tour has had a collection where the other players have been wearing it or that want to wear it. I have been very blessed in that position.

Q. Do you have one single favorite dress?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely.

Q. (Talking over player.)

Q. Do you like watching old Hepburn movies?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do, yeah. I haven’t watched them in a while, but I like watching classic movies. And to be honest, I haven’t really had time to watch any movies. I haven’t been in the theater for probably like six, seven months.
I wish I’d have time, but I just ‑‑I really don’t.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your next opponent, another Spaniard? Do you know much about her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not much. I don’t know much. But I think my coach ‑‑well, I hope my coach was out there watching the end of that one. Yeah, I mean, did she get through the qualifying here? Yeah.
Well, if she has, she’s played a lot of matches. Yeah, you know, I kind of played the same similar style opponents in this tournament so far.
And, you know, I don’t know too much about her, but I’m sure I will find a couple of videos to look at and to get a good look at myself. Sometimes you don’t always believe what the coach says, so… (Laughter.)

Q.What was the first big court you played on? Do you remember the very first time you were on a huge court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: As far as big, this was the first one. This was my first biggest stadium that I have ever been on.

Q. What was it like the first time you had that experience? What’s it like?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think for me it was more about ‑‑because this was my first big professional event that I was a part of, and I think it was ‑‑maybe it’s the wrong name, but I think it was Samantha Reeves I played against in the first round. I think I won her, and that set up the match to play Monica. It was a big deal for me because I was 15 or so.

Q. Ryan was talking about it last night, to be 20 and have played on so many big courts, and it makes a big difference.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it certainly does. You don’t know what to expect. I think actually the first round I did play on center against Samantha. And then I was able to win that one, and certainly had no chance at all in the next one. (Smiling).