US Open 3rd Round Interview

Q. Pretty routine, huh?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was. I expected her to play a big, solid match. I mean, she came out, she has pretty huge groundstrokes, and she likes to go for it. Yeah, my opponents have been quite different last few rounds. She’s certainly somebody who could be dangerous if you give her the time to do what she likes to do. Overall, I was happy with the way I played.

Q. First few matches overall despite the wind and little problems with the serve, seems like you’re fairly confident and have the rhythm and all of that now.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, as you say, routine, but with each match different situations. Yeah, of course I would have loved to have served a little better in that second set today. I gave her that break. But overall, it was pretty solid. I mean, considering the conditions, I thought I served good and placed the ball well.

Q. Does the scoreline reflect how you’re feeling on the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I didn’t know too much going into this event because I hadn’t played on hard in a few months. I think that made me extra focused, and I wanted to really get going from the beginning and be aggressive. Yeah, took a little bit of a break after Wimbledon and went home. I think I kind of recharged a little bit. Certainly feel a lot more energy than I did maybe after the French.

Q. A lot of people are talking about Robson and Stephens as the way of the next great female players. They are having a great Open so far. Can you comment a little bit on both of them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I have played both of them. You know, Laura was someone who was obviously throughout the years ‑‑ I think she won junior Wimbledon, and she’s someone that I think a lot of people expected to do well at an early age. I mean, this is definitely her breakthrough tournament, her breakthrough Grand Slam where she’s been playing extremely well. I’ve practiced with her a few times. Played her at the Olympics and last year at Wimbledon. She has a big game, and also a lefty, which adds to her strength. But Sloane, I played against her in Miami, I think. I don’t remember the score, but she’s a great athlete. Moves so well. I watched a little bit of her match yesterday. She’s a great fighter and, you know, was able to come back from that match. Obviously that’s the newer generation, and I’m somewhere in the middle there. (Smiling.)

Q. What were your thoughts when you saw Kim’s last match? Have you been able to talk to her at all? What did she mean to you and your career?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I was very fortunate to play a lot of matches against Kim and follow her career. I mean, she was such a great athlete, a great competitor. We always had really tough battles against each other. It was amazing to see her career unfold. The way she came back after, you know, becoming a mom and having that dedication and, you know, that fire again, it was pretty incredible. It showed how much she loved the sport and how much passion she had for it. Yeah, I actually didn’t get to see her after.

Q. How about Roddick?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, crazy tournament. (Smiling.) Anybody else add to the list? Not me, but… I mean, it was fun watching his career. I mean, he always had so much energy on the court, especially in New York. I think everyone embraced him as an athlete and as a personality. You know, he worked extremely hard. It puts things perspective a little bit, because you think, Well, tennis does come to an end at some point, and you actually start thinking about that. Yeah, it’s crazy how two great players are going to be out after this tournament.

Q. It comes to an end at a point maybe earlier than any other sport I can think of.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It does definitely. Everything is so routine in our sport, and since a young age it’s just such a huge part of our life. Then I guess that decision, it’s an interesting decision of how you decide to stop or if your body isn’t able to continue or if your mind is not there anymore. But it’s certainly an exciting chapter in their lives.

Q. It’s really kind of a fleeting window of opportunity to contest for Grand Slams, and obviously you have played them at a very, very high standard. Are you at a point where you say to yourself, you know, This isn’t going to last forever?

Q. When you’re 19, everything is going to last forever.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I’ll tell you, when I was 18 or 19, if someone told me I was going to be playing at 25, which was seven years from then, I’d be like, Stop, this is ridiculous. You’re crazy. But here I am at 25 years old. Although I didn’t play for nine, ten months in my career, I’m 25, and I feel like I have so many more years left. I still wake up in the morning and feel like I can be better and motivated. I have energy and I’m healthy. What else can you ask for.

Q. Roddick said yesterday he just didn’t want to exist on tour, meaning outside of the top 20, top 20, 25, maybe not competing for Grand Slam titles. Is that pretty much the same for you? Could you see yourself just saying, Oh, fourth round or quarterfinals are okay, win a small tournament here or there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s difficult when you’ve tasted such great success and when you have expected yourself to be in later stages of tournaments, you know, on a consistent basis. It’s challenging as a professional athlete when you’ve been at the top and you’ve experienced greatness, to kind of see yourself fall down a little bit and just think that, Oh, it’s okay if I’m, you know, in the third or fourth round. Of course it’s okay maybe when you’ve battled things and you’ve gotten through things to get yourself in a position to play professional tennis. Of course in a big perspective, that’s pretty incredible. But overall, when you’ve had that feeling of winning and, you know, losing on a weekly basis to maybe players you expect to beat, it’s tough. Then your body is not exactly, you know, as it was when you’re in your early 20s or teenage years. Then it all comes together. You’re like, There are other things in life, as well.

Q. I was watching the junior girl qualifiers and boy qualifiers. I saw a lot more serve and volley players than before. We see Federer coming in more to end points quicker. Is that something we will see in the future?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not from me. (Laughter.)

Q. Not from you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely not from here. I would hope so. I think it’s fun to watch. It’s quicker; it’s something different. I grew up with it on TV, not so much in real life. I didn’t face too many players that served and volleyed. But, yeah, I guess if that happens, I don’t know if I’ll still be playing then. (Smiling.)

Q. The other day when I asked you about your wedding, you seemed surprised that some people thought it was true about your wedding in Istanbul. Today Sasha Vujacic wrote on Twitter that since months you’re not anymore together.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yes, that’s correct.

Q. So that was before Wimbledon that you split up or…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it’s been since the end of spring actually. I was waiting for someone to actually ask me that question, but nobody did directly. (Laughing.) Yes.

Q. It was a bit confusing.

Q. People were talking about the wedding and you split up. It’s not important, but…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, but, you know, I have never really been the person to announce things. I never announced when we were together or never announced that we were engaged. I never have in any of my previous relationships, as well. It’s not really the type of person that I am or the way I like to go about things. I’m not an announcer, you know. I don’t go and do interviews about it or photo ops.

Q. I was hoping to be invited to the wedding.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You still have a chance. (Laughter.) I mean, I still have many years ahead of me.

Q. I guess it’s fair to say you have done a really good job of separating the off court and on court since the spring then.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was obviously a challenging decision, you know, from both of our ends. Yeah, it was a really nice period of time for both of us, but, you know, our career schedules just made it extremely difficult to see each other with the traveling, and especially his career move to Turkey. You know, the playing there was a little bit different in terms of he wasn’t able to travel much. He wasn’t home one time during the ten months that he was in Turkey, so that made it extremely difficult. Yeah, but we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. Still would love to call him as a friend. Yeah, we spent really great years together.

Q. Nadia is your next match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, look, she’s been playing really good tennis here. Just saw a little bit of her match against Safarova. She’s someone that likes the faster courts, especially in New York. I have had some tough matches against her. Although I have a good record, they have always been really tough and have gone to some three‑setters, some tough two‑setters. She has a big game, great serve, a difficult opponent, but I’m looking forward to that challenge.

Q. It’s obviously well‑documented that you have so much in your life: the titles and No. 1 and you love business and fashion and meet wonderful people. Kind of hard to have a social life when you’re in Stuttgart one day and, you know, Paris the next, and Tokyo; is that a challenge?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I make time for that. You know, I’m able to have a normal life which I’m pretty happy about, although when I’m at tournaments and I’m doing events and business‑related things, it seems like my life is very hectic and very glamorous, very popular. But at the end of the day, when I’m home, I’m just like everybody else ‑‑ although my office is my tennis court. I put those hours in. Then outside of it I have so many friends, my family, and I’m able to have a normal social life. I consider myself lucky.