Q. Slightly shaky start, but fairly comfortable after that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there’s always a bit more tension coming into the first round of a Grand Slam. It was such a quick turnaround. Just a couple weeks ago you’re on the clay, coming onto the grass, with the new grass and new surface, it’s a different feeling.
It was obviously a bit slower start than I wanted, but happy overall with how I progressed through the match, which was the important key.
Q. What did you make of Samantha’s attempt to blast you away from the first point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she has a pretty aggressive game. I believe she enjoys playing on grass because she served and volleyed a couple of times, really went for her shots, stays quite low as well.
So, yeah, sliced a bit and came in. Quite unusual game. But I think she made a few more unforced errors than she would have liked definitely.
Q. You struggled with your serve in the first two or three service games, but once you broke and were 4-1 up, it went pretty well. Troubles with the service due to the new environment and different surface?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely. As I said, it was certainly a slow start. I wish I didn’t make those errors.
But I think as the match progressed, I got more comfortable, found my toss a little bit better. I think my percentage went up, which was quite important considering she did want to play an aggressive game off of the second serves.
Q. After what happened last year, was it just important to get a victory, to kind of settle things down, get on to the roll of being back in Wimbledon in the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I try not to dwell on what happened in the past, whether good or bad memories I had, whether it was last year, years before.
This is a new day. It’s not a new tournament, but it’s a new opportunity. You start from scratch. That’s the way I treat the first round.
I try not to think about what happened. I have a great opportunity to do well here. I’ve had great memories. There’s no reason why I can’t turn those results around that I had in the last couple of years.
Q. And the form that you carry into Wimbledon, can that be any help? Obviously a different surface, but can you take anything from that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, the match play. I played a lot of matches in the last couple of months. That’s always great because I’ve been put in very different situations, whether I was up or down come through some very tough ones, played some very physical matches out there. So that gives me a lot of confidence going into this tournament.
Although this is a quicker surface, it’s still very physical, requires a lot of speed and reaction, footwork, all those things. That combination is never quite easy. That adjustment always takes a little bit of time. That’s why I’m happy that I settled in as the match went on today.
Q. You were pictured traveled by Tube to or from Queen’s last week. What do you make of the public transport in England these days?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I picked a crowded hour (laughter). Maybe it’s always like that. I’m just inexperienced.
But it was nice. I think it was the quickest route at that point. But, yeah, I do enjoy doing that once in a while.
Q. Do you ever travel to Wimbledon on public transport?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I stay in Wimbledon, so I don’t really need to take the Tube.
Q. How about someday taking the subway to the US Open?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t done that. Yeah, that would be a new experience.
But maybe when I’m a tourist and not a player.
Q. With it being 10 years, does it make you more determined that you owe yourself a second Wimbledon?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah, reflecting on that victory brings a lot of great memories. I’ve had my fair share of success and also tough results here.
It really jump-started my career from a very young age. But I don’t look back to that very often, because as I said before, I treat every year and every tournament as a fresh and new start.
I try to make it a new beginning rather than looking towards whatever happened years ago.
Q. It’s tough for people, men or women, to execute the double from France to Wimbledon. Having won on both, what do you think coming over here? Is it such a great change that that year you can’t do it or is there an easier transition?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Every year is different. I mean, I’ve never done it before. This is only the second time I won the French Open, so it’s my second opportunity to try to do that.
As I said, it being such a quick turnaround, really trying to maintain such a good balance between being physically rested but then having enough time and preparation and matches, practice, going into your first round of Wimbledon. You can’t take that lightly. But meanwhile, knowing how many matches I played in the last couple of months, there’s such a thin line to know exactly what is the right thing to do.
But I feel that I’ve recovered both mentally and physically. Although I want to reflect on such a great victory there, I just want to start from the beginning here and be as hungry as I was if I didn’t win a Grand Slam a couple weeks ago.
Q. Many have spoken about this incredible love of competition that you have that seems so natural to you. Could you talk about that. Does the competition take you to a new level as a person? Is it something that you learn from? Why do you love it so much?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not sure. I’ve loved it from a very young age, whether it’s just being first in line, eating something faster than a friend of mine, I don’t know, demonstrating a drill on the court when there were people on the court. I always wanted to be the first one. That was always a type of competition for me.
There’s different ways of expressing that competitiveness for me. When you’re deep in the third set, that feeling, that’s what I worked so hard for, to get out of that situation on a good note.
Maybe other people really don’t want to put themselves in that situation. Actually, when I get there, I don’t think, Well, I must have lost the set and I did something wrong. I think, I got myself in this position and I have to fight my way through it to win the match.
I’ve always thought that maybe my mentality is a little bit different. Going into a third set, I really relish on that opportunity.
Q. When you turn your back to the court and think for just a moment, is that a pep talk to yourself? What is your internal dialogue at that point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It depends the stage of the match. Just to give yourself a few seconds of that time within yourself really. Everything is so fast-paced out there. It can change very quickly, the dynamic of the game. I like to give myself that moment to think clearly whether I’m doing well, to keep that focus, or whether I have a little bit of a letdown and I need to regain what I was doing well, what I can improve.
I just like to take that moment. I’ve done that for a really long time.
Q. What are the biggest differences between the court conditions early in the tournament here and late? What are the pros and cons from your perspective?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, each court is quite different. I think if some of you have been out to Aorangi, those courts, I think two meters of the baseline is pretty much clay court right now, which is, yeah, quite different.
You go out and you play on a show court, the grass is new. That’s why I think it’s so important to really take care of those first few days when the grass is fresh. It might be a little bit more slippery. You have to expect that.
I think it’s just making that adjustment and being confident out there with your footwork and your feet.
Q. Which do you prefer in terms of the show courts, early in the tournament or late, and why?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t mind either. I feel like we get to play on both since the practice courts are quite worn down, the match courts start quite fresh, and as the tournament goes on they wear off pretty fast.
Q. How different is your Wimbledon experience now 10 years later than when you first came as a teenager with regard to your time away from the court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not many things have changed actually. The mentality changes a little bit. As a 17-year-old girl, you’ve never really been to the locker room, or you haven’t walked through certain tunnels, you haven’t played on certain courts. Every move, every minute of it out there is so different. Now you know your way around. You know every corner by now. You’ve visited it. You’ve sat in certain places in the stadium. I always like walking around a couple weeks before when I come here for practice, when it’s quiet. It’s a little bit eerie and different because you’re so used to Wimbledon, seeing it with a passionate crowd. It’s always nice to see it when it’s calm, the beginning of it all.
Q. You walked around Wimbledon a couple weeks ago, photos of you. Can you do that during Wimbledon fortnight or are you confined to barracks because there are so many fans around?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The village gets quite crowded during the tournament. I usually don’t make my way into the village very often. This year I have a shop there, so I have no excuse but to visit it once in a while.