US Open 4th Round Interview

Q. Were you happy when the rain came a little bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it’s a tough situation because I felt like there’s so many ups and downs between the beginning of the first till that break. She was up a break and it was a little bit difficult going in because I felt like I started getting a little bit of momentum back in the second set and then just didn’t really take my chances when I had them and played a sloppy game at 4‑5. But I didn’t really mind. I have the experience of getting off the court and waiting a little bit and trying to start from scratch.

Q. How proud are you of yourself you served the final game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That was really important, especially against Nadia. One of her strengths is her serve. You know, when it’s on and she’s holding easy, that obviously puts more pressure on the service game. You really try to concentrate on that, you know, be smart and mix it up a little bit more. But, yeah, overall I’m really happy with the way it came out in the third. I didn’t let that little letdown bother me. I just kept on fighting. So, yeah.

Q. You looked so pumped up during the third set when you came back on the court. What does this quarter mean to you? It seems something special.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, of course. You’re playing a night match at the US Open, you have a rain delay, you come back, and all the same people that were there waited through for 45 minutes and they came back to watch the end of the match. So that energy in the stadium with the music and the cheering, it’s just unique. You know, I think it really, really pumped me up and got me going. I wasn’t going to leave that court without a fight.

Q. Did you call your dad or did he call you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Thomas told me he wanted to talk to me.

Q. And you took the call?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Then I called him. I didn’t want to hear it after if I didn’t call him. I didn’t want to have that conversation.

Q. I can’t imagine he just said, Fight. He must have said more than that. Did you tune him out after he said, Fight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, he knows by now, like, where to stop and where to keep going. He has that experience with me. (Smiling.) No, he just said, You know, your energy dropped in the beginning of the second set. That’s over. That’s done. Now you got to go out there and fight.

Q. Petrova was just asked about the rain delay. She said really that’s why you won and called it your lucky day.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Great. I’m the winner, so whatever she wants to call it is fine with me.

Q. Any win is a good thing. You’re 11‑0 this year in matches that go in three sets. What kind of pride do you take in having that kind of success? Why do you think you are so successful?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it’s a nice statistic. I don’t really think about it going into a new third‑set situation. Certainly wasn’t on my mind, because every match is different, different circumstance, whether you started slow and came back in the second or whether you had a letdown in the second. Overall, you know, I always think that no matter how you start the match, it’s always how you finish. Whether it’s an hour or whether it’s three hours that you’re out there, I don’t want to give up until the last point. That’s pretty much the mentality I try to have going into a third set.

Q. Being demonstrative, is that something you sort of learned in your career? Just more, C’mons and vocal. Is that something relatively new for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I’ve always been pretty vocal. I think we can all agree on that one.

Q. Can you talk about the mentality on second serves? Seems like now you’ve decided, I’m going to go for it and hit my spot. Last couple games you were going for some pretty big serves.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, because I think against someone that likes to take chances like that, you know, she loves to step in and go for it. I wouldn’t blame her. If I had second serves at 80 miles per hour, I probably would want to step in, too, and hit them in the corners, you know, and take advantage of that. She’s an aggressive player. She goes for it. That’s not something I wanted to give her.

Q. Can you talk playing Marion Bartoli in the next round.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: We haven’t played in a while. It was a great win for her today, someone who has been playing really good this summer. Yeah, it’s nice to see her back in the quarterfinals of a slam. I think she’s been a little bit up and down, but obviously her level has stepped up here. Honestly, I haven’t watched any of her matches here. I played her before; I know her game style. It’s always a little bit different, nontraditional. But, yeah, it’s the quarterfinals and I’m excited.

Q. Does it feel like so long for you since the quarterfinals, or does it seem like just yesterday you were in the quarters here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A little bit of both. Sometimes you look back and you think, Wow, that was many years ago. I had baby cheeks still. But then you think, Oh, where has the time flown? It’s so fast. But, yeah, I missed a year, so that chance was taken away from me of getting far. But, you know, we’re here now and I’m back in the quarterfinals. It’s a nice feeling. I’ve got to go from here.

Q. Do you feel like more of a veteran now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I kind of feel somewhere in the middle really. I started when I was very young, and now I’m playing a lot more opponents that are younger than me. I don’t think that necessarily means that I’m a veteran, but I’ve been on the tour for a long time. I’m experienced. But there’s still many years ahead of me. I don’t think I’m at the end of my career.

Q. Last three times post surgery obviously wasn’t the best tennis, but do you look at those matches as a just process of coming back from the shoulder, or do you say to yourself on this occasion that you just didn’t play your best and I had chances in all those matches?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Here at the US Open?

Q. Against Melanie, Caroline, then Pennetta last year.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t like to look back at those, especially a couple of them. But, you know, every circumstance is different. Every match you play you’ve got to bring your A game. Obviously in those situations my opponents played a lot better. They won the match. There’s a reason why they did. But obviously those losses make you hungrier to come back and do better.

Q. What I’m saying is do you take the bigger picture or compartmentalize?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it’s the only way to look at it. I think if you look at it in a negative perspective it’s pretty tough. You have a whole ‘nother year; that’s pretty depressing.

Q. You have a lot of crowd support here. Did it seem like you had even more crowd support than you usually do?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I certainly felt that energy today, especially when we came back. Maybe just gave an opportunity for people to drink more so they’re more excited, I’m not sure. But it was nice. It was a really nice atmosphere.

Q. Can you describe what it’s like to be on that court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s amazing.

Q. It’s that loud?

Q. So it’s not like you’re checking out on it; you can really hear the noise?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: When we describe all the different Grand Slams, ‘energy’ is the word I think of when I think of the US Open. Just from the tunnel and the bright lights there, then you walk out, and then the fans are kind of right there in that little tunnel. They’re screaming. They want your autograph before the match. They’re putting their hands out. Then you walk out and it’s this massive stadium. When it’s filled up, when it’s night, you have the lights on, it’s just so special. It’s so unique to be a tennis player in that atmosphere.

Q. You talked about your hunger that you have. You won a career slam this year and an Olympic medal. Is that at all hard to keep yourself going, saying, I still need more in my career?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it gives you extra motivation. I’ll tell you, it’s a lot tougher mentally, more challenging, to lose a match and say right away, I’m hungry for more just because losing is not always fun. Obviously, the faster that you turn around and change that mentality the better. When you have moments of victory, when you’re holding the trophy, you think back of the work you put in. That’s when you realize that it’s worth it. That’s when you know that there’s no better motivation. So absolutely. If I didn’t have that I would be announcing a retirement, but I’m not. I still feel like I have a lot more left in me, things that I certainly can improve in my game. That’s why I get up and want to work hard.