US Open 4th Round Interview

Q. What did you think were the keys to this result today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was quite a long match. Yeah, making a long story short, I felt like in the end of the first set made a few sloppy errors to lose that first set in the end. Was happy with the way I turned things around and started playing a bit more aggressive. Got in the points with her. In the third set I stopped doing that. Allowed her to get back in those long points, long rallies, and ultimately went for the shots that created errors.

Q. What were your thoughts on her game today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought she played really well. She made me hit a lot of balls. That’s always been her strength. But she did extremely well today. She’s a great retriever, especially in these types of conditions. I just felt like I maybe went for a little too much.

Q. Do you see any special reason why you maybe struggled more than usual on court this summer?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I created opportunities for me, for myself, to win these matches. Today was just an example of not doing it, not continuing and following through what changed things around in the second set. But, no, not one thing in particular.

Q. What were the conditions like out there? It seemed very muggy, very hot. Did that affect you at any point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was warm, it was windy, but that’s — we’re in New York; it’s summertime. Arthur Ashe is known to have windy conditions. I have played here for many years and I know what to expect. That didn’t really affect me much today.

Q. You played phenomenally in the second set. Did your level decrease at all in the third set or did Caroline raise her level in the third set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I just stopped doing what helped me get advantage of the points in the second set. I hit a good shot and I allowed her to get back in the point instead of looking to come in. Whether I hit a swinging volley or hit a approach shot, give myself a advantage situation. She’s very good at getting a lot of balls back and making you hit another one. In the end, I went for a little too much.

Q. Are you ever distracted in any way by your box? I mean, it seems like there are very few people in your box.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There always is.

Q. Always is?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I don’t have a big entourage.

Q. Seemed like they were reacting quite vociferously in that third set. Are you distracted by that in any way?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I always love when the box is able to bring you energy. Obviously you spend so much time with the guys that are there supporting you, so it’s always nice to have their back no matter the situation.

Q. Your loss here leaves only two of the top eight seeds in the tournament. You have been a victim in other slams. Can you talk about what’s going on in women’s tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, that’s a very large question, I’d say. I’m not a specialist in what’s going on. I can only speak for myself. Today just didn’t go my way; I’m out of the tournament.

Q. Are you surprised that some of the other top players are gone?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s a long season. There are a lot of tournaments. There’s a lot of depth on the tour. You can never underestimate any opponent that’s in front of you. I think that’s shown in the last few Grand Slams.

Q. You said you stopped doing what was working the second set. (Indiscernible.)
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, consistency, keeping that same intensity, and just not bringing it in the third set.

Q. Did something happen after the 10-minute heat delay that caused you to come back on the court late? Something going on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not actually really sure what happened. I was told we need to go back on the court, and I did. Then I got a time violation. But that didn’t really matter.

Q. Obviously your Grand Slam season is now over. There were some tough bumps in the road, including today. You’ll always have Paris. How would you assess, I mean, the Grand Slam season for you? Just winning the French, is that just enough to make it really a sweet year, or what is your assessment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, right now after losing in a Grand Slam it’s tough to look back and, say, talk about a sweet victory. Of course it’s certainly nice to have. In that run that I had, there was a lot of things behind me. I was close to getting out of the top 10 in every single match I played, starting in Stuttgart. There was a lot on the line for me and I performed really well and I brought it. The other Grand Slams I just wasn’t able to do that in the later parts of the matches. Of course that’s disappointing, but overall it’s great to have that victory in Paris. Right now it doesn’t make it any better.

Q. Now that the slam season is over, do you turn your interest to the business ventures we spoke about? Do you put more time into it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, not really, because the next tournament is quite soon actually. It’s only a couple of weeks, I believe, after the US Open. It’s in Asia, so, you know, it’s a very quick turnaround. Just got to get ready for that.

Q. What are your thoughts on Caroline’s evolution as a player? The thing you pointed out her as a retriever has been constant forever. What changes, if any, do you see in her game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: More consistency. Able to do it better. Someone has a strength that, you know, sometimes players look to improve their weaknesses. I think her strength has improved incredibly well. I think that’s the flood warning. (In response to phones going off.) Darn it. If I was only there a little longer (laughter).

Q. Before you were so rudely interrupted, about Caroline’s game, the evolution in it…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Does the press conference ever get interrupted by flood warnings or lightning?

Q. The answer is yes.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, really? Okay.

Q. Caroline’s game, what have you seen in the way of changes?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she’s better at what she’s done really well in her career. I think she’s moving extremely well; she’s fit. I mean, she’s always been fir, but there is a little bit more on her defense shots. It’s not just balls up in the air. She’s doing a little bit more with them. But she did that really well today.

Q. She’s running a marathon. Do you feel like that’s helped her game at all? She’s been defending even better.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I can only speak for myself. I know if I was getting ready for a marathon it wouldn’t help me, but everyone is different (laughter).

Q. One of your obvious strengths is when you come back from when you’re down. You have done it over and over again. But not today. Could you just elaborate on that a little bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just doesn’t always happen, I guess. Didn’t happen today. I came back from losing the first set. I found a way. I found something different. Stepped it up and was more aggressive. I just didn’t have that in the third set.

Q. What kind of goals can you fix for yourself for the end of the season? Is it easy to find new goals after a Grand Slam season?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s much easier. I always find more motivations after matches like this, because I always say that if you’re not disappointed or if you don’t feel that you could improve on something, coming off of a loss you think that everything went well for yourself, then you’re never going to get better. You’re never going to encourage yourself to keep going. I certainly never felt that way. There is a lot more work to be done, a lot of pluses to be taken away. There is a lot of things that I feel I will work on.

Q. Now that your time as a competitor is done here, how will you be spending the rest of your time in New York? Staying at the Open? Switching focus? Fashion?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I will probably be training really soon because the tournaments are ahead of us.

Q. What’s your interest in watching the rest of the women’s draw?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I love watching the sport, so of course — when you’re out of the tournament it’s not so interesting anymore (smiling), but I do enjoy watching. I’m sure I might. If I have time. Can’t guarantee it.