Madrid Quarter-Final Interview

Q. Well‑played today.

Q. Another solid performance. The scoreline suggested it was a fairly straightforward match. How do you feel you played today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was just happy to get past the quarterfinals. Feel like I’ve been stuck in this tournament.
So it’s nice to be in that stage. I felt like I was facing a really good clay‑court player today. A lot of her success has come on clay.
Faced her at the French Open where she had really good wins last year, so I know that she’s capable. She’s playing really well.
So I was just really determined. I’m happy that I was able to win with that type of scoreline.

Q. You are moving much better, let’s say, every day in clay? What’s your opinion of the court? They are slippery like last year or better or how does it suit your game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely not as slippery as last year. I think it’s more slippery than other clay courts, yes.

Q. The writing on the camera, I wonder what that was about?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know. You tell me. (Laughter.)

Q. Serious things about tennis: Do you think it’s a good idea because Madrid has a little altitude to go after to Rome where you have also won? So is it better for the schedule on the way to Paris to play before in Madrid and then Rome?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I think every tournament on the clay is different. I think it’s really good adjusting to the circumstances. A week ago I was playing on indoor clay, and this week I’m in a bit of altitude and outdoors.
So every week is a new stadium, a new environment. The court plays differently. Even balls play differently. It’s really good adjusting.
Once you get to the French Open, you give yourself a little bit more time of preparation time to get ready. You know, to have a good few days, maybe a week in Paris, before I play there.

Q. Serious question: I’m sure you’re sick of answering questions about how you’re good on clay, but when you were younger…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I never thought that day would come. (Laughter.) Where’s my trophy?

Q. When you were younger you came on the tour and played well on grass and were really good on grass and not as good on clay. Now it’s kind of switched around: You’re great on clay and your grass results haven’t been as great recently, aside from reaching the silver medal?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Aside from the final a couple years ago and the silver medal last year. No biggie. For some people that’s a pretty good achievement.
Obviously it’s funny when people talk to me it’s like, ah, that’s not really a great result. I’m like, I don’t know. Thinking about that on surgery table, I’ll take that any time of the day.
You have to be pretty realistic and fortunate. And yes, I lost in the fourth round, and two weeks later I came back at Wimbledon and got to the finals. So that was a great, great week for me.
Yeah, I definitely have improved my game on clay and improved myself physically. I also think the grass has changed over the years tremendously. The clay has pretty much stayed the same.
But it’s not like I woke up one day and said, Yeah, I’m just going to get better and tomorrow I’m going to be better on clay. Instead it took many years and many matches and many practices.
And mentally as well just to get myself prepared for long matches and battles and get through them.

Q. Going way back, can you remember when you first stepped on a clay court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was in the juniors. I actually played quite a bit of juniors in Europe, along the Czech Republic and Germany. Most of my training was on hard court. A lot of the ITF juniors ended up being on clay.
So I did win a few titles. (Laughter.)

Q. About the 40‑year anniversary this year of the WTA, and a lot of other anniversaries as well. Battle of the Sexes, for example, with Billie Jean King. When you think back to that time, can you imagine how hard that must have been for those ladies that set up the WTA?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. I think one thing that’s interesting about playing today is that you have to realistically think about the generation that’s going to be playing after you.
I think that was one of the best gifts that Billie Jean King has taught so many players, including myself, was that what you do today will eventually affect the players that you don’t even know today in the years to come.
That’s a very unselfish way to think of it and the very appropriate way to think about what you do and the moves you make on and off the court. Your professionalism, hard work, meetings that you put in that are not exactly convenient. Day before a tournament you’re asked to meet with the Grand Slams about prize money, about development of the slams, the future.
It’s one of the things that you look back on what they did and their motivation and their work, and it helped us today. I think it gives us a pretty good reason to look at it unselfishly for the future. I hope all of us are able to do that for the girls that are young right now.

Q. At back of that, Maria, what did you think when you saw that Wimbledon were offering almost 40 million pounds in prize money this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Pretty remarkable, really. I remember sitting‑‑ we had like a five‑hour meeting the day before the first round of Istanbul last year, the Championships. I don’t think one player in that meeting was really happy about the timing.
I will say that every tournament director and a couple of their staff made their way. Craig Tiley flew all the way from Australia just for that meeting. We sat there and they presented kind of their future prize money ideas.
Wimbledon, as we all know, is one big secret, so their meeting was the shortest one because they’re not really able to give us a lot of information.
But everyone made a huge effort. That was really nice to see. But I would say that if it was not for Craig Tiley and his ‑‑ he happens to be in that first spot of the year, which is not an easy one. When he stepped up, I think that showed the rest that they needed to.

Q. On a completely separate subject that has been mentioned today‑‑ I never thought I would ask this kind of question.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Why start today?

Q. I sent a tweet yesterday saying I thought signing of the cameras have become one of the most boring things in tennis. You’ve taken it to a new level in the last couple days.

Q. Do you think about what you’re going to write the day before or the day off? Is it very spontaneous?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It has been quite spontaneous actually. Some are so spontaneous I don’t even know why I’m writing it. (Laughter.)
I think I wrote in Palm Springs, Who knows? I wasn’t sure why I wrote that. But some other ones have a few meanings, yeah.
Yeah, it’s fun. I could do the old signature, but for some reason doing something fun and interesting gets people talking about it. Hey, that’s why you asked the question.
Don’t call me a trendsetter now. (Laughter.)

Q. Last one on the beginning of the WTA. Billie Jean King told us that day when they met in the hotel to form the WTA, she sent Betty Stover, who was 6’4″, to stand by the door and not let anybody out until they formed it. Who would you put on the door now to stop everyone going out? Who would be security?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just from the WTA? I think Serena would do a pretty good job of that. We all know that. Yeah, she would be a good candidate for it.