Madrid Semi-Final Interview

Q. Even though you played great, it was more easy for you than in Stuttgart? It’s covered court or open air? What do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think in my previous match against her a couple weeks ago I had a bit of a letdown in the second set.
After losing that break today, you know, I remembered that moment from the match before and I didn’t want to let it happen Rafa.
So I thought I played a really good game to get myself back in that second set. I played a good return game.
Yeah, overall I’m pretty happy with the way I played.

Q. It’s your 500th win today. Do you feel like a veteran? I’d like not think about it too much. Makes you feel a little bit old.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: But that number is pretty significant so I’m pretty proud of that. No, doesn’t make me feel like a veteran.

Q. So next round will be against Serena, so tough you have tough match. Do you think you have a chance?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I thought I played really well at a good level for her in in Miami for the first set and a half. That’s not enough.
Obviously the goal is to keep that level for the whole match and to open up my opportunities, to take my opportunities. This is her third or fourth final in a row, so she’s been playing really well.
Yeah, of course it’s always tough against her. I haven’t had a win against her in a long time. But the great thing is that I’m setting myself up in a position where I can try to change that around.
Getting to the final is a great achievement here. Haven’t been at this stage yet, so, yeah, I obviously look forward to it.

Q. Congratulations, Maria.

Q. You think you have more chances against Serena on clay court than on hard court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s been a while I think since we played on a clay court. But I think every match is just different. It’s a different tournament and a different environment.
I would like to take away the good things from that previous match and try to incorporate that into tomorrow’s match.

Q. You played one of the best matches that many people have ever seen in Madrid against Justine Henin. That was a covered court. It’s a new story, or Madrid brings you good thoughts, let’s say?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, before this clay tournament I had really good results in Madrid, so it’s nice to be back in that final stage in this city.
That match that you mentioned was one of the toughest in my career. I think both of us played extremely well. One us had to lose, and on that day it was me.
Yeah, it’s great to be in that stage to give yourself an opportunity to win another title.

Q. Congratulations.

Q. Good luck tomorrow. I’m from a Bulgaria, I would like to speak with you about something more private. Congratulations for your relationship with Grigor Dimitrov. Really, they catch you with pictures.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: We’re official. (Smiling.)

Q. If you would like to speak with us about this, do you help each other with advices? How is your relationship? And have we got the chance to see you as a couple on the court on the next tournament in Grand Slam? Would be most beautiful and most successful couple. Just joy for everyone.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Unfortunately my answer is going to be a lot shorter than your question. (Laughter.)
I think everyone knows that I don’t really discuss my personal life. We’ve been seeing each other for a while. You know, it’s just news to us that someone took a picture of us now after this time.

Q. They published the pictures yesterday.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I know. Oh, I know, don’t you worry. I know what’s going on.
Yeah, so I don’t really discuss it. It’s nice to have something in life that you’re able to have for yourself and on your own, because so much of your lives are in the public eye.
So this is just a part of your personal life away from the court. It’s just something that I‑‑ both of us just want to cherish on our own.

Q. Will you play together as a couple?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Last time I played mixed doubles was about like I would say ten years ago. Didn’t go too well. Decided that’s just not my thing.

Q. I know we were talking yesterday about prize money and the WTA and all that sort of thing. Can I ask you specifically about Billie Jean King and what you think about her as lady and a pioneer?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I remember Billie Jean King from a very young age. I think the first time I met her was at a junior tournament in Roehampton before Wimbledon.
Not quite sure how old I was, but both of my parents were with me then. I think I was just getting ready for my match warming up and she just happened to be waking by and she stopped to talk to my parents and me.
It was really quite nice for a legend like her to take the time to come up to someone like me who was probably, I don’t know, 13 years old, and, yeah, just talk about the future, talk about the present.
I don’t really remember what she said, but I just remember being in awe of the fact that she took the time to come up to us.
That was my first initial memory of her. I think what she’s brought us in this sport, her drive, her beliefs, you know, her work ethic, of course on the court, but everything that she’s done away from the courts is such a great example for so many of us.
You know, no matter time it is in my life, I always get different texts here and there from her. Whether I win or lose a match; whether I’m going through something tough in my life, you always feel her presence, which I really appreciate.