US Open 1st Round Interview

Q. How pleased are you with the result out there today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I was just happy to be back playing a competitive match. It’s been a few weeks. It was a nice break in a way, but after so many weeks of practicing, you’re just eager to get back on the court.
The tournament almost seems a little bit easier because the practice is a little bit shorter getting ready to play matches. It’s so much better than having practice weeks, to be honest.
But I was happy with the way I came out. Never played my opponent before. A lefty. Conditions weren’t exactly perfect. Overall I played steady, but there’s room for improvement, that’s for sure.

Q. What were the last few weeks like for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I went to Montréal and I was supposed to practice there, supposed to play the next day, but I woke up and I had a stomach bug for a few days and wasn’t feeling really good.
Yeah, I had some tests done, some blood work, some ultrasound stuff. They said I should just probably rest. I just went home and took Cincinnati off as well. I think it was just a sign that I needed a few weeks off.

Q. Feel better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah. I’m fine.

Q. Why all those tests for just a stomach bug? Did you think it was bigger?

Q. Why?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just because of the pain I was having. It was really weird. They told me I was fine, not pregnant. I’m like, Can I get my money back (laughter)?

Q. So the night before the Olympic final, how bad was the pain?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was okay (smiling).

Q. That didn’t pass the smell test. What was it like? Was it a serious pain? Did it impact your play?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was worse when I got to Montréal. At the end of the day, I think it was some stomach bug. But I thought it was getting better. Then I started eating like the normal Maria and it wasn’t better.

Q. After all the development, the planning, the trips to Spain, it’s finally going to come out, if I understand correctly, but there’s a little bit of a problem. There’s a guy named Roger Federer who has Lindor truffles. As a marketing person now, how would you tell America to try Sugarpova and not Roger’s?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well that’s chocolate. Mine are gummies and gumballs. It’s like, What’s your preference? That’s made in Switzerland; this is made in Spain. No, a lot of differences.
I mean, those are quite different. I’m just happy that it’s finally over with. I worked on it for a long time. There’s not much to be done from my end in a way except promote it and letting the world know about it.

Q. Ultimately can a gumball stand up to a truffle?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It depends what your preference is. I mean, mid afternoon I’m not a big truffle person; I’m more of a gum girl. But it depends what everybody likes.

Q. It sounds like you were hurting at the Olympics. When you get into a thing where you lose like that, is it one of those things that you just hit the delete button the second you walk off the court or is it something that sticks with you until you get back on the court again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it doesn’t stick with you. I mean, personally I’ve been part of many different types of matches in my career. Looking back at that week, it was really special. It was so hectic. It was the busiest week out of the year for me in terms of playing back to back, the emotions of the opening ceremony, putting everything together, going out and trying to compete.
It was an incredible experience. Although I would have loved to have been the champion there, for me to be a first time Olympian, to leave with a silver medal, carry the flag for my country of course I would have loved to win gold but those things happen. You move on and go to the next tournament.

Q. Were you actually able to get to sleep at night after you carried the flag?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I don’t know about anybody else, but after a two kilometer walk to the stadium and back, I had no problems sleeping.

Q. That must have been an incredible experience for you.

Q. What went through your mind as you were carrying the flag around the track?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I actually had hoped it was a little bit more windy so it would’ve kind of blown on its own. I was walking and it really wasn’t, so I felt like I had to actually hold it, make sure it was waving around and wasn’t getting caught on the pole.
But it wasn’t as heavy as I expected and the walk was a lot faster than I had thought it would be. But it was a great experience. I went to the Village like four hours before just to walk around. I’ve never been part of that. So I really wanted to get to see everything, take pictures.
I spent like a few hours in the dormitories, and then we were getting ready in advance and then walking. It was like a whole half day, maybe seven, eight hours.
But I look back and it’s like, Where did the time go? It was so quick.

Q. Since the comeback you’ve reached the final of the other three slams but not here. What would it mean to make a run into the second week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Exactly. I haven’t been far here, past the first week, in a long time. I would love to get that back. You know, I haven’t played at a level that I wanted to play here. There shouldn’t be any reason why I can’t, having the success that I had for a few years, winning it in ’06. That’s certainly something that I’m looking to get back.

Q. Obviously the tests went well in Montréal. It turned out it was a stomach bug of some sort. What was going through your mind when you were feeling pain like that? Must have been pretty serious to need all that, or at least felt like it was.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t think we should make this much more dramatic than it was. I mean, at the time I was being drama, but I’m fine. I was fine.

Q. In your years here you worked with a lot of individuals. How would you compare the culture of sports in America, training, and in Russia?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just the training in general?

Q. Well, just the culture of sports. Here it’s so dynamic, so individualistic. There’s an economic engine to it. Can you compare the cultures?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I mean, obviously a lot has changed since I was starting to play tennis there. I mean, tennis has grown a lot, and other sports have. Economically there’s a lot more support.
But in terms of athletes, how they’re brought up, I mean, I think there’s certainly much less choices in Russia. I think there are a lot more opportunities in this country, which makes it incredible on one side.
But then once you get to a point where you have to decide. Kind of the people around you because you’re at a young age and you can’t make those big decisions, but you really have to decide what you’re going to dedicate your life to, whether it’s sport, whether it’s something else, and whether it’s something that the kid actually loves doing or whether it’s something that the parents love taking the
kids to do.
I think it’s great that it makes for a social and healthy lifestyle having a kid playing soccer, baseball, football. I have a family friend, and I can’t keep up with their schedule. The kid is all over the place. She’s driving here and there. It’s insanity. But you get to a certain point where you really have to commit to that one sport if you’re really serious about it.
In Russia, I don’t think financially we have those opportunities to have so many options. But also the parents were working 24/7. I don’t think we could afford a nanny to drive them back and forth. It was really committing themselves to that one particular sport or area.
It doesn’t have to be a sport. It can be an educational part. But I think they focused extra on that.

Q. If you become a mom, would you bring your kid to an academy? Do you like the academy environment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That’s a tough question. Obviously if my kid wants to play sport and I feel like that would be beneficial to the kid, then yes. But I hope not (laughter).

Q. To keep playing tennis day after day, it’s something that helps you not to think too much about your upcoming marriage or not? Normally for a woman it’s a big moment. You don’t have almost the time to think about what’s going on.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I don’t, because I don’t have a wedding coming up in November. That’s not true.

Q. It’s not?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I’m definitely not getting married in Istanbul in November.

Q. Not in this year anyway?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no, no (laughter). I’m so surprised everyone believed that.