Miami Final Interview

Q. Obviously a great match. Set and a half, you’re up 3 2, you got the break back. Did you feel is that where it kind of got away from you? Couple of double faults hurt a little bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I mean, when I broke her I lost that next game pretty I think it was a 40 15 game. So that was pretty fast, but, you know, I thought I still had opportunities to get back in the set at 3 4. I was up 40 15 and Love 30 in the next game, and then, you know, those are the games that you really need to, you know, keep challenging out there and keep being in them, because those are the chances that you will have and that you will have to take if you want to win the match.
But I certainly put myself in a much better position today.

Q. Once she gets rolling, do you feel her momentum? Was there anything you could do to stop it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think that’s why she’s No. 1 in the world. You know, she’s really capable of doing that. You know, she obviously had to do a few things differently. You know, I was controlling a lot of the points in the first set and the beginning of the second. Then towards the end, just, you know, I wasn’t there.

Q. You’ve played a lot of matches so far this year. They haven’t been very long matches, but you’ve played a lot. Did that catch up to you at all, do you feel, as this match went on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I feel fine. I’m very happy, very fortunate that I’ve been able to play, you know, probably the most that any player has played in the last, you know, month out of the singles matches.
So, yeah, I have had a really great month and a great tournament here. I think I can only take positives out of it, really.

Q. How did you feel at the start of the third set after she won the second set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you know, when you go into a third set, you obviously want to start clean no matter you know, if you end up losing that second set, you want to go back to thinking what you did right and what you did well, but I felt like I was one step slow.
I was losing a little bit of pace on my ball, which I think, you know, hurt me. And against a player like Serena, you can’t really do that.

Q. During the break between the second and the third set, were you thinking at all, I wish I would have done this in two? Did you think that third set would be as much of a struggle?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I think I was just more thinking about those chances that I had, and, you know, in the middle and towards the end of the second set when you know, it’s a different story when it’s 5 3 or when it’s 4 All when you’re up a set.
So those are the points that you really need to win.

Q. Did you run out of energy at the end? It looked like you were just kind of – I know Serena picked her game up, but I had the thought that perhaps maybe you hadn’t eaten enough or something like that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’d love to use that as an excuse, but I’m not one for those. (Laughter.)

Q. To start the third set, your coach was giving you a very motivational speech for like three and a half minutes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Three and a half minutes?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think that’s a little long, but that’s okay. (Laughter.)

Q. It was kind of long.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Did you count it on your watch? Did you have a timer?

Q. Of course.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You timed it? That’s very professional.

Q. What’s the part that really you couldn’t handle?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t understand the question at all. I’m sorry.

Q. He was giving you a specific direction what you have to do in terms of, you know, trying to beat Serena in the third set, what you can do.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: So what’s the question? Is that a question?

Q. Yeah, it is.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Which part of it is a question? He was telling me, but that’s not a question.

Q. What were the things that you can…

Q. What was he asking you to do?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: But you heard it, no? Did you hear it?

Q. I’m asking you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Why are you asking me if you saw it? Why are you asking me if you heard it yourself?
I mean, I can’t remember exactly what he said. I mean, there’s a tape. Maybe I can get you a copy. (Laughter.) I’m sure we’ll find it.

Q. The back to back double faults, what actually happened there? Was it an element of nerves that crept in at that moment or what?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I was serving with the wind, and first serves I think they were a few feet long. And then second serves, I don’t think I put enough on them, bottom line.

Q. You never went to the net the whole game. Was that a part of your strategy or opportunity?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think for me it’s not really about maybe going to the net to play two or three volleys. I think for me it’s more about moving into the court and being aggressive and looking for the short ball to really hurt the opponent.
You know, I’m not a serve and volleyer or a volleyer. I mean, that’s not the way that I play. But when I am playing well and being aggressive, I’m inside the court, I’m looking for the opportunities to step in and come in, whether that means I’m hitting an approach shot or a swing volley or a volley to finish it off. I hit a few short balls, but I don’t think I hit volleys.

Q. If you had to play another match and it was up to you to choose a court and had home court advantage, what would you pick?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Against anyone?

Q. Against Serena.

Q. Wimbledon?

Q. Obviously it’s been a long run without a win against her. How far away do you think you are from being able to beat her? Is there any psychological aspect when you have that run against one particular player?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think , you know, I think today, you know, I certainly played a lot better. You know, I had my chances. There’s no reason why I couldn’t win the match today.
I was playing, you know, well, not well enough to win the match, obviously, but, you know, it was a step in the right direction and there’s no doubt that we’ll be playing many more times. There’s no doubt I’ll be able to beat her.

Q. Is it frustrating? You didn’t play your best at Indian Wells and you won the title. You came here and you actually have been playing pretty good, you know.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thank you. It’s the way the sport is. Sometimes, you know, you’re playing so many matches, facing so many different opponents, and, you know, not every single day is going to be your best day.
You’re going to have to get through some tough ones, and you’re going to have to you might play some really great ones. Then the next day you have to do it again.
So within a tournament, there’s a lot of ups and downs, and I’m really happy with what I have been able to achieve in the last month.

Q. Are you superstitious?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A little bit.

Q. 2006 you lost in the semis of Australia and you won at Indian Wells and then you lost in the finals here. Then you went on to win the US Open.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I like that. (Laughter.) I like your thinking. Let’s write it down and put it in a pocket.

Q. You’re defending champion at the French Open. Are you looking forward to it? Seems like last year you had a lot of success on clay.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, absolutely. When achieve such, when you experience such a nice moment in your career, to be able to come back there and to play on that court again where you lifted the trophy, won the match point, it’s always special and meaningful, especially for the amount of years that you’ve worked so hard to get to that point, and I’ll treat it as any other, you know, title that maybe I haven’t won and really want to win because I would love to win it again.

Q. After coming up short so many times in the finals here, does that make the memories a little bit tougher coming back to Miami year after year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it’s tough to lose in the final stage because you’ve worked so hard to get there. There’s no doubt about that. But it is a really nice stage to be at. It’s a nice opportunity that you’re giving yourself.
The more that I give myself this opportunity, the better chance that I have of winning. That’s what I have to think about.

Q. You think you lost concentration a little bit when you were winning 3 2 in the second set, or all the credit is for Serena?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, at 3 2 I lost that game, and I think I had 40 15. That was a tough side to serve on, so, you know, I think I lost a little bit of pace on the first serve.
I think I was a little bit more safer, and she took advantage of it just like I did in the previous game when I broke her.
So that was a tough side, but I don’t really think that was the game that changed things around.