Q. In your first tournament on grass you won your first two matches easily. How much does it mean for you in terms of confidence?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, because it’s so quick from one to another, the first couple of matches are really crucial in just working on so many things as a grass court player, just trying to make that transition and trying to do it as quick as possible.
The grass is quite different to the practice courts. Once you get out there, you try to just maybe focus a little bit more on executing better and not letting your focus go. That’s been important in the last couple of matches.
Q. How have you found the court conditions this year compared to last year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, good. Like I just said, the courts at Aorangi and the main courts are quite different. It’s such a different feeling after a day of practice coming on to the main court.
I think in a few days’ time, they won’t be the same. They’ll be a bit more similar. I think the first couple of days are always the most dangerous in terms of the difference between the two and the footing. I wasn’t very successful at that transition last year, but I feel quite well this year.
Q. It seems like the field has been a pretty good transition as well. Haven’t seen a lot of upsets this week where last year we had a lot of upsets, like in Paris this year.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think after last year, everyone is maybe a little bit more cautious. You can’t just forget about it overnight. It’s always in the back of your mind a little bit.
I’m sure happy to get through an extra round than I did last year.
Q. What are your thoughts about playing Alison?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, we haven’t played each other in a while. I believe the last time was in Birmingham.
Yeah, I feel like her game matches up with grass extremely well. She stays down really low, hits really flat from both sides, has had steady results on the surface.
It’s going to be a challenge. Yeah, I look forward to playing her.
Q. Before the tournament started, many people were pointing to the possibility of a matchup between you and Serena. Of course you don’t think about it until you’re in that position. What have been your observations of the way Serena has played recently and what are the biggest challenges when you see her on her game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t had a chance to watch too many of her matches. But it doesn’t really matter. I mean, she’s been here. She’s done it many, many times.
If we do get to the stage of playing against each other, first of all, I’ll be happy to be in that stage, in the quarterfinal stage, facing against her on one of the courts.
You know, we played each other many times. I haven’t had the best results against her. I always look forward to that opportunity and the challenge to play against the best, try something a little bit different to try to get a win out there.
Q. You share an agent with Madison. What do you think about her game and how it might translate to this surface?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think many people have expected great things from her. She’s one of the up-and-coming, rising stars in the last few years.
I haven’t played against her, but I’ve seen a couple of her matches. It seems that she’s really pushing through. She’s one of the youngest ones, as well, out of the bunch.
I think she has a great game for the grass with the way she serves and her strokes. She’s quite a powerful player. I think that suits her quite well here.
Q. Do you feel you’re playing as well as you’ve ever played at the moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t ever think like that. I don’t compare my game to what it was yesterday or the year before or 10 years ago. I always look ahead and I always try to challenge myself to be better than I am today.
Q. Is there a part of you that hopes for a more difficult match in these early stages to prepare yourself for the battles ahead?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I had four three-set matches at Roland Garros. It was quite a long battle. I’m going to take these as much as I can take them.
Q. About the World Cup, have you been following it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have not too closely. But, yeah, I have. What do you want to know about it?
Q. If your country aren’t going to win it, do you then put your allegiance to another country?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I’m kind of supporting a lot of countries because my team is from all over the world. On any given day, sometimes I have to pretend like I’m supporting them just to be nice (smiling). They usually know when I’m faking it. But, no, it’s fun. It’s fun to get together. The atmosphere is always nice, especially having a house here. You get everyone together, having a barbecue, watching the soccer. I don’t watch too much of it, but yeah.
Q. Have you worked on taking your tea breaks at different times to avoid missing the goals?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always miss the goals. It’s kind of a trend now.