US Open 4th Round Interview

Maria lost to Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) (20) 4-6 3-6

Q. What’s most disappointing about your game right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think not being able to consistently put up the level from one match to another, stringing obviously in a span of hopefully a total of seven matches during a Grand Slam. It’s just a little too up and down.

Q. Can you put your finger on why that is?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think if I did immediately, I’d be able to change that around immediately. I think it’s always a work in progress, reevaluation, and always looking ahead.

Q. Can you talk about what Carla did well, how she stymied you tonight.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I thought she played really well. There’s a lot of things she did well. I thought in today’s conditions, her ball was getting up on me a little bit more, much more than my previous three opponents that I played.I didn’t take care of the chances that I had. By ‘chances,’ I mean the balls that were a little bit shorter. I hesitated to move forward. The balls where I did attack, I made unforced errors, especially on that inside-out forehand today.

Q. End of the Grand Slam season, maybe not end of the season. I guess you would have hoped for a lot more from the slams this season.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely.

Q. You mentioned reevaluation, looking ahead. What sense of belief do you have that you will be back at your best when you do look ahead?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, that’s a fairly tough question to ask someone that just lost 30 minutes ago.First of all, if I didn’t have the belief to keep doing this and to keep having the motivation and the grind of doing this every day in order to get myself in these positions, I don’t think I would be here. I think I’ve done plenty in my career, established a lot for myself personally, professionally.Yeah, the belief is not something that I’m eager to show everybody else. The belief matters most when it’s internal and when you have a passion for something. If you don’t, it’s your choice to not continue that, not for anyone else to tell you so.

Q. Do you already know what kind of schedule you’re going to have for the end of the season?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right now I don’t.

Q. Is there anything you can pinpoint that was different tonight than the first three matches here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, my opponent was different. That I can say about a lot of tournaments. From round to round, you get a different variety, a different type of challenge. The conditions today I think suited her game a lot more than they suited my game.
Part of that is I can also blame myself for not turning things around and not being quick enough to analyze that, to see that in the match, not being responsive enough, yeah.

Q. What, if anything, surprised you about Carla’s game today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not going to be surprised by someone that is playing in the fourth round. I mean, this is someone that’s played many matches in her career, has played on different stages in her life. There’s nothing I should be surprised of.
I thought she played a great match. She did many things well. She was consistent when she had to be. She forced me to make mistakes. She moves extremely well. Those are all the things that I think we all know going into a matchup against someone like Carla.

Q. Is your upcoming schedule the same as you planned before, playing Beijing and Tianjin?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just said I’m not sure what my schedule is.

Q. Did you know it was Carla’s 30th birthday today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn’t, no.

Q. You gave her a gift. Didn’t mean to, but you did.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That’s the way tennis goes.

Q. Do you still love the game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. Can we say this is the most challenging period of your career?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Challenging what?

Q. Challenging period of your career.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Challenging period of my career?

Q. Yes, the toughest.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, what’s challenging is when you’re a teenager and you have a few hundred dollars and you’ve got no sense of the future, you don’t know where you’re going to end up. You just have a dream. I think that’s a lot tougher than being 31 years old and having the opportunity to do whatever I want in my life.