Wimbledon 4th Round Interview

Q. How much of a relief is it to get to this stage after the last few years here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it obviously is. You know, looking back at last year’s match, it was a tough three setter, a very physical match. I didn’t come through.
Of course, you always think back, think what could have happened if I did manage to win a few of those points and how far I could have gone.
Obviously being back in the situation of the fourth round, I try to put all my effort to get further. As we all know, it only gets tougher here.

Q. She was a tricky opponent.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think the grass quite suits her game. She stays fairly low, has very flat strokes, especially when you give her the time. She changes direction quite well. A little bit of a different match in Australia where you have a little bit more time.
I thought, especially in the second set, she started being more aggressive. When she finds those lines on the serve, it’s tough to get back.

Q. Are you feeling in the shape of being champion here again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think I’ve worked through a few different opponents, different conditions, as well, a few different courts. I put myself in different situations, yet been able to close out the matches in two sets. That’s a positive in these last eight days.

Q. How does the first week of a Grand Slam compare to the second? Mentally you’re obviously focusing on one match at a time.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Right.

Q. Does it change at all? Do the emotions change for you at all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I guess having that Sunday off, in my case starting on last week’s Monday, gave me a chance to have two days off is quite rare. Usually only happens here, or the US Open, or the French if you start on a Sunday.
I haven’t had that in quite a while. It’s about managing those couple days, then knowing if you win the match today, you’ve got to be ready to play tomorrow.
I’ve certainly been in the situation before, but you always have to make small adjustments based on how you feel, who you play, or who your next opponent is.

Q. Speaking of your next opponent, have you had a chance to think at all ahead about Coco?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, look, I think it’s been a tremendous effort for her to get to this stage of the tournament. With the serve she has, her game really revolves around that serve, and she’s been using it quite effectively in her previous four matches.
The return will be extremely important tomorrow, especially taking care of my service games. It’s always tricky playing against a really good server on grass because a few points here and there can ultimately tell the difference in the winner and the loser.
But, yeah, I’m quite looking forward to that matchup.

Q. How difficult is playing fourth round quarterfinal back to back compared to the other slams where you usually have a day off?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s just the way it is. The situation that you have. Just the quick turnaround. Whereas you have two days off before, so you’re able to rest your body if you needed it, or get some extra practice in, depending on everyone’s situation, which is different.
I mean, we do it all the time during every other event. I don’t think it really changes much.

Q. An interesting article appeared at the weekend about your relationship with people who join your team, sort of suggesting you don’t much have personal conversations with them for several months before you sort of trust them and allow them to have those conversations with you. Can you clarify what the relationship is, what the situation is there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Where did you read that?

Q. In The Independent on Sunday.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Interesting. I wonder who their sources are (laughter).
I’m not aware of that article. Pretty much sounds like baloney to me. Take my word for it, but I’m sure you won’t (smiling).

Q. You’ve been having a few issues with your serve again today. Is it ball toss, anything specific at the moment?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I started with a few errors early on. But I thought as the match went on, I got a good rhythm. Had a few more aces than I usually do today.
Yeah, the conditions are not easy, especially out on Court 1. It’s a bit more swirly out there. Changes quite a bit.
I think instead of going for the lines a little bit, which I sometimes tend to do, want to get a free point, maybe be a little bit smarter.

Q. I don’t know if you’ve answered this or not, but how does having just the one day rather than the two change your routine?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I did.

Q. Sorry.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s okay.
We all have the experience of playing tournaments that are not Grand Slams where we do have to come back and do a quick turnaround. I think you just have to treat that as that.

Q. Are you a fan of the rest day on Sunday after what, I imagine, is a stressful and hectic first week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it’s nice to carry on with a tradition that’s been around for many, many years. It’s the way it is. It obviously breaks the rhythm a little bit. But it’s the same not just for me, it’s the same for everyone.