Miami Semi-Final Interview

Q. You had a good start, obviously. How do you think things turned there in the first?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I started off really well, and I was up in a lot of the games and didn’t win them today.
You know, the first set started off really well and I had more break points. She served her way out of trouble on those in the first set, and then the second set was up 2‑0, 40‑15, which was a game I should have taken, pretty important game.
Yeah, I was in it and then I was not (smiling).

Q. Was the wind a factor for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s been windy every day here, so actually when it’s not windy, I think that’s when it’s a surprise for everyone.

Q. Would you say the biggest difference between you two is her serve? Is that just the thing that really is the most difficult?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought in key moments she served really well today, big serves. I got a few of them, but, you know, not good enough to get myself back in the point.
Yeah, that was a big difference today, for sure.

Q. You’re very deliberate between serves. When you take your time that way, are you thinking about anything or are you just kind of washing your mind clean? What’s going on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it just depends. I think it’s a routine that I established for myself. No matter how I was doing in the match, whether I was winning or losing or if I felt like I needed to focus or regain my focus, that was my time for yourself, because you’re always in movement, you’re always doing things whether you’re getting ready for the next point or you’re in the point.
So I always take that time just for myself. I don’t know what it is, like 20 seconds or so.

Q. She was pretty methodical today. Did you find yourself waiting for her at times to get the point started?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not really.

Q. They seemed normal to you?

Q. You obviously haven’t beaten her in a while. Does that make you feel at all like you have nothing to lose, or is that possible to have that feeling when you’re someone who has won as much as you have?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, of course. I mean, despite my results against her, I still look forward to playing against her because you learn so much from that type of level which she produces.
You finish the match, and you know where you need to improve and the things that you need to work on, because someone like her who is so powerful and explosive and, you know, is in there every point, that teaches you to make sure that you’re in there every point and you’re doing your thing, you know, consistently, not just for a short period of time.

Q. Do you put more or less pressure on yourself because of the past results?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There is no reason for me to have any pressure because of my results against her.
She’s an incredible champion. That’s the reason she’s at the top. She’s accomplished a lot, not just ‑‑I mean, her tennis speaks for itself, and I have nothing to lose out there against her.

Q. After a match like this, how close or how far away do you feel like you are against her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t like to measure things. I think I didn’t have a great week in Indian Wells. I think I played poorly, to say the least.
I didn’t start off well here, and as the tournament progressed, I know I started regaining my form and coming back for matches, playing three‑set matches, winning them, which I haven’t done a lot this year, which was very important for myself and my shoulder to see that I was able to find that strength and to serve well deep in the third set.
So those are the things I look towards, because it’s a long year and many tournaments ahead, and that’s the type of things that I want to keep looking for.

Q. Do you feel like sometimes Serena just kind of relaxes out there, and then maybe you get a nice good lead, and then she’s able to turn it on, like flip that switch, take it up several levels more so than other opponents you’ve ever played?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That’s why she’s No. 1 in the world. That’s why she’s won so many Grand Slams as she has because she’s able to ‑‑we’re out there for, you know, it can be an hour, can be three hours, and there is no proof that you’re going to hold your concentration or your focus for a long period of time. There are always going to be drops.
But she’s the player that is most capable of coming back from that or regaining focus and regaining that concentration as someone that’s ultimately going to do better.

Q. What would you most likely be able to do to turn this around? Is there any area you just need to be better at to be winning these matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always think that no matter how good you are, you can be better in every area.
I don’t like to be overconfident about any parts of my game or my career or who I am as a person. I always strive to be better in all different fields.

Q. If you had to pick a percentage of how you played compared to your best or how she played compared to her best, what would you say was your performance today on court?

Q. Percentage.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, percentage. I ‑‑I’m not sure. This is not a math quiz. I don’t know. I have never been good at math (smiling).
I don’t like to look at percentages or graphs or things like that. I’m sorry.

Q. Coming up on clay, it’s been your best surface the last few years, do you feel like it’s your best surface now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know about best. I always find it as a challenge, because I always have found it as a challenge. Although I have improved tremendously, I always want to keep improving on it, because I still feel like I can be a better mover and I can get from defense to offense, because offense is where I play my best.
I think that’s the reason I have had that success is because I have improved that, but I still feel like I can get, you know, better at that.
But I love the upcoming season and what’s ahead, and it will be great for me to get back to Europe and to play that long swing of tournaments.