Wimbledon Pre-Tournament Interview

Q. Have you been looking forward to Wimbledon this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I always look forward to this event. I enjoy competing out on these courts so much. I have for all of my career. It’s always special to be back here.

Q. Coming from clay and doing so well, the transition been different or more difficult? Less difficult?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s a very quick turnaround, yeah, especially if you go in the second week of the French Open. And as physical as it was for me, having those few days off was really important for the mind, for the body.
I think a lot of people underestimate the physicality of the grass itself, the way it’s changed in so many years, the last five, six years how physical it’s become. So that adjustment is always a bit tricky in the beginning on the body.
I’ve had a good 10 days or so on the grass and I’m excited to start up another Grand Slam.

Q. Talk about the Russian team in the World Cup. What are your thoughts on Russia eventually hosting?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Unfortunately, the games are quite late when Russia plays here. I haven’t had a chance to watch so much of Russia.
Every one of my team members is from a different nation, so I’ve been able to watch their games. Germany, Holland. Japan is out now. All those great countries, it’s been great to watch those games as well.

Q. Your thought on Russia hosting the World Cup the next time around?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. That’s really exciting. To see the excitement around such a big sport and the atmosphere in the stadiums, I think it would be a great opportunity for our country.

Q. They’re playing Belgium tomorrow. I was wondering what you know about any Belgian players maybe, or something like that, or Russian players?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m no expert in football. I’ll tell you that straight off the bat (laughter).
Any advice or any opinions you want, I’m not the person to ask. Yeah.

Q. Does it feel like it’s been 10 years since you won here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, once I think about it actually, the memory is quite fresh in my mind. I don’t think about that victory very often. Just sometimes when I need a little pick me up or when I look back at my achievements.
When I do think about it, it seems so fresh and it seems like it almost happened yesterday. It’s been 10 years and I’m here, yeah, still competing at a high level and still have the motivation.
I certainly had that drive when I was 17 years old, and I’m proud that I still have that going into this age group, you call it. Still going out and competing and loving what I do so much.

Q. How different is your game now from then? You’ve had much more success on clay now.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I would certainly love to change the result that I’ve had here in the last couple years. I think it was three years ago that I made a good run and had a great chance of winning it again.
In the last couple years my results were certainly nowhere near I would have wanted it to be. That’s something that I hope to change around this year. I’m looking forward to that. I’m determined to do that.
But, as always, you have to start from the beginning, from your first round on.

Q. Are you in any sort of revenge mode after what happened last year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I don’t dwell on what happened last year. Every experience is different. There’s a reason that happened last year. You move on. I moved on.
Yeah, the beginning of it starts next week, so…

Q. You probably didn’t look too far ahead at the age of 17, but if someone was able to say in 10 years you will have achieved this, what you’ve achieved, would you have been happy or said, Wow? What would your reaction have been?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I probably would have been quite happy.
I think when you win such a major at 17 years old, you have no choice but to try to back that up with another victory, or else you’re going to be carrying those expectations from yourself and also from the outside world.
Winning another one, it wasn’t just a one‑time success. I think I was ultimately more proud as a teenager to back that up with a win in New York on one of the biggest stages against a lot of pressure against an opponent in a final stage that I had a lot of trouble with in my career. That was a big moment through those years.
To add three more to that, yeah, I’m very grateful for that.

Q. What carries over from the emotions of the French Open championship for you to this tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To be honest, it’s such a quick turnaround, you get to celebrate for a day or so and you think about it. But when you transition here, when I got off the train in London, you change your mode, you change your thinking to you got to start from the beginning.
I don’t like to come into this tournament thinking, I just won a Grand Slam. I like to challenge myself and be hungry.
Always when I think about, you know, being overconfident or winning so many matches or having a great season, I don’t know, I get a little bored in my mind. I want to challenge myself when I go out on the court.
I don’t want to think about what happened two weeks ago. I want to start from scratch.

Q. What is the key to your success here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: For me it’s about being healthy. Last year I didn’t do a good job with that. I struggled real bad.
That’s just an important factor, to make sure my shoulder, my body recovers from match to match here.

Q. What do you know about Samantha Murray, the British player you’re playing in the first round?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know much about her. I will try to find some videos, do a little scouting.
But, yeah, I haven’t seen her play very often.

Q. This will be her first match on centre or of course wherever you’ll get to play. Can you remember your first experience at Wimbledon? Did you have nerves? How did it affect you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I started in the juniors here. The biggest court was in the final. I think it was Court No. 4. Little by little, the next years I remember getting to the fourth round. You get to play on bigger arenas, bigger courts, bigger opportunities.
It’s all a very great learning experience for everyone at that point, because you go into a situation not really knowing what to expect.
Of course you know your game, you know who you’re facing, but when you get out there, everything is very different. I think it’s just important to take everything in.
I know for me personally I’m selfishly not going to care about that, of her not having experience on these stages, because my job is to go out and try to beat my opponent.

Q. What is your response to the critics about what you do outside of the game? What is your response to them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: My French Open victory two weeks ago.

Q. You think it’s okay to have sweet shops and things like that? What would your advice be to children?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Clearly. My advice to children on what? Winning Grand Slams and having a sweets shop?

Q. No, on healthy eating and that sort of thing.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I know all about living a healthy lifestyle, wellness, what’s right and what’s not. But everybody loves sweets, including myself. That passion for candy, that little treat at the end of the day, has always been a part of my life.
It’s been a fun journey starting something from scratch, a candy brand, and two years later see yourself create a little shop during Wimbledon.

Q. After Andy Murray took on Amélie as his coach, someone asked Marinko Matosevic about it. He said he wouldn’t have a female coach because he didn’t think that highly of the women’s game. Is that a prevailing attitude on the men’s tour, or is that a one‑off?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not sure. I haven’t asked too many people about it. I certainly heard his comments. I think it’s great. I think it’s great from Andy’s part. I had my fair amount of trouble playing against her. I think she’s a very knowledgeable player, knowledgeable person.
Ever since she’s retired, she’s been around the game for so many years from a men’s and women’s perspective. It’s great to see her be his coach.

Q. Would you personally have a female coach?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, if the opportunity came about. But there’s a lot less female coaches than there are male coaches.

Q. What is your favorite team? Do you have to see Russia or is there another team that impressed you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I enjoy watching with a group of people that get excited about it. I’ve personally never been a huge fan of football in my career. I always feel like I’m always missing the goals. (Laughter.)
It’s like I watched for 35 minutes and I didn’t see a goal, and all of a sudden I grab a sip of tea and there is the goal and I miss the goal.
I usually prefer higher‑scoring games. Last night’s game was exciting.

Q. Do you have a theory at all why there are so few women coaches as opposed to men?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think women get to a certain point in their career where family becomes maybe a bit of a priority and they’re not able to travel as much when they have children. And not just one, but they decide to have a second.
We find ourselves traveling for so many years from a very young age. At that point, when family becomes such a priority, being at home, yeah, it’s really priceless. I think that’s an example for everyone.