Madrid 3rd Round Interview

Q. Congratulations for the victory.

Q. I was wondering, how hard for you playing one day at noon and the other one at midnight? Is there any special preparation for that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think going into this tournament all the girls know that the scheduling is a little tricky here. If you’re playing center court you’re playing first or second in the morning or second match in the evening.
So I think it’s about just knowing that, understanding it, and doing everything you can to get ready. Obviously it’s not the best type of scheduling you can have, but it is what it is. It’s the same thing for your opponent as it is for you, so you have to treat it the same way.

Q. Hi. Very great match.

Q. In the second set you get to 5‑All; you were fighting a lot in that second set. Went to a few deuces. Nadal in the finals of Monte‑Carlo, he was saying that it was hard for him to play with the same intensity every point. Sabine is a very strong player. How is it for you? How hard is it for you to be playing with the same intensity in a match against her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, she’s the kind of opponent that plays extremely well against top players. I think you can see that from her results. She always takes the top players quite far, and she beat me last year at Wimbledon.
So, yeah, I was quite happy to turn around that victory going into the Olympics. This was our first meeting on clay, so that was a little bit different.
But overall I think it’s about keeping my intensity as much as I can. Obviously if you can be on the court for over three hours, maybe you’re not going to play with intensity every single point, but the more that you do the better chances you have of winning.

Q. Very beginning of your career you used to struggle on clay, but you’ve been improving a lot. How did you manage to do that? Would you say that now you’re comfortable on clay as on any other surface?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think when you win a Grand Slam on a surface, it would be pretty mean of me to say that I’m not comfortable on the surface.
It took me many years to get to the level of where I am today. Certainly didn’t happen overnight. I worked extremely hard on getting stronger and recovering better, moving better on the court, giving myself a better position on the court, especially after being on the defensive and trying to play aggressively as I always do on quicker surfaces.
But just give myself that chance to recover. I think I’ve learned a lot and over the years and I’ve really improved.

Q. First of all, congratulations. Regarding what Djokovic said, that he felt a bit attacked by the Spanish audience, how do you feel here in Spain?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think the match times we’ve been playing have been really early or really late, so I think the crowds have been obviously a little bit less than maybe if you’re playing in the afternoon at 4:00 p.m. or at 8:00 at night.
But I’ve always had really great support in Madrid. Back to the Championships when I played here, you know, I remember the stadium being very full and supportive.
Yeah, it’s obvious that that was a tough match for him. I’m sure he felt a lot of things weren’t going his way.

Q. How excited are you about coming back to Roland Garros this year, and what is the first memory that comes into your mind from a last year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it was an incredible memory and one that I’ll have for the rest of my life.
Obviously I would like to treat the tournament as I am still really hungry to win it. I’m still trying to win it, because I feel like when I have that type of attitude I work a little bit harder towards that goal.
Sometimes when you feel like you have everything or you won everything, it can be pretty easy to just say, Why do I need it again? But I find a lot motivation in going back and trying to defend my title.
Over the years, yeah, it’s brought me a lot of great memories, a lot tough ones. I did win last year, but years before had tough losses there as well.
So, you know, brings back a lot memories, but certainly the best one and the sweetest was last year.

Q. There were some surprise in the press room when you wrote the name of a well‑known Spanish department store on the camera. Is that one of your sponsors now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that’s where they sell my candy now in Spain. Yeah.

Q. Recently Azarenka lost; Radwanska lost. Do you pay attention to what’s going on around you or are you in a bubble?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I see the results, but at this point, the opponents that lost didn’t have anything to do with my following round, so it’s not something that I worry about too much.

Q. So in the second set again, you fought for that break and then you got to 2‑3 and then you called Thomas. After that it seemed you played more confident and picked it up. You guys are so close and you communicate well. How important is it to have him in this moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it is very much. But you also know that when you’re playing a Grand Slam your opponent and you are not going to be calling the coach, and those are the important ones.
So for me it’s really about him bringing that energy to me. That’s what he’s done incredibly well over the last few years. From the first day of practice. His intensity and energy that he brings, it’s nice.
Obviously when he comes on court there is nothing he’s going to tell you to change technically so much. It’s more to give that you fresh breath of air or if you’re feeling a little bit down to pump you up a little bit.
I guess he did a good job, but I’ll let him know you complimented him.