Wimbledon Quarter-Final Interview

Q. Getting to the semis, you have to be pleased. Is there any part of the game as we move on in the semis you would like to be concentrating more?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think as the tournament goes on, I mean, I’ve played five matches already, I’ve faced different challenges, matches, opponents, circumstances. The first four I played quite well and got the job done in two sets.
Today serving for the second set, could have made it easier for myself. Went into the third. I still got the job done.
I have to be pleased with that, that I’m in the position of being in a semifinal again after these many years.

Q. Coco complained a few times to the chair umpire she thought you were moving her during service motion. Did you hear her saying that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn’t actually, no.

Q. Did you feel like you were doing anything different than you usually do on your return?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I didn’t.

Q. She actually said what you did was unsportsmanlike. How do you react to that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it is what it is. What she said, I’m not going to argue against her words.

Q. What does knowing the history of Wimbledon and the women who were here before you, whether it be as far back as Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf, all those players, what does that mean to you? Are there players from whom you take specific images and memories?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I look back as a young girl, I didn’t watch a lot of television. But the memories I have of watching tennis were actually at Wimbledon. I think it was more of just not particular players, but the atmosphere. They were showing the grounds, the people, the crowd, the players.
It was more for me a memory of tradition rather than a particular player.

Q. When you’ve seen your name on that trophy with these greatest names in the history of the sport, what are the feelings that that evokes for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I haven’t seen the name on the trophy in a while ’cause I haven’t held the trophy in many years. I’ve seen it on the board (laughter).
I know it’s there, but I would love to check it out again to make sure it’s still there. That would be nice.
Look, obviously being a small part of its history is an incredible feeling. It’s something that I’ll be able to cherish for the rest of my life. Be able to tell my future children that mommy won Wimbledon. I have proof. It’s on the trophy.
It’s an incredible achievement. As you go about your career, you don’t always realize your accomplishments because we’re so busy and always thinking about the next one, the next event, trying to do something better and keep going, that you never have the time to slow down and really appreciate all your accomplishments, even as a young teenager girl.
So I think I’ll really be able to hopefully share those memories with my kids when I’m older.

Q. Is there a special feeling coming back to the semifinal here?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Of course, there really is. I had a really tough match last year against Kerber. I really felt like, although I lost in the fourth round, everyone always looks at results, my game on grass had really improved in the years before. I really felt confident.
It was tough because I felt a few points could have changed things around. From then on you really never know how things evolve, what chances you might have. That was a bit disappointing.
But, yeah, overall I’m really happy I was able to take that loss and move up a few steps further this year.

Q. How crucial is that third week of grass gap between the French and Wimbledon for you? Would you be here now without that third week?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it’s like I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe. Who knows? I wish I could tell you. My preparation wasn’t exactly the way I had planned it to be so it’s tough for me to say what could have been different.

Q. Were there times when you were still getting better that you thought Wimbledon might not be your year this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did everything I could to be here. Even when I go through injuries or am not feeling well, you always try to be optimistic and you do everything you can to get your chances higher to be here.

Q. You’ll play Serena possibly. How exciting is that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Definitely no secrets between each other’s games. Looks like Vika is up a set and something.
But, I mean, look, I haven’t played Serena here in 11 years. That would be an incredible moment for me to step out on Centre Court against her again.
Vika, she’s back and playing really good tennis. She’s been on tour for the last few months just really at a good level. Even though we’ve already played a couple times, I believe it will be our first meeting on grass.

Q. Do you feel in yourself that you’re playing really well? You’re having some struggles in matches which is absolutely normal. How do you feel your tennis is?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I think, I mean, you look back and as much as you want to be a perfectionist, you have to be a realist as well. If you look at Grand Slam champions, you look at their draws, matches, results, everyone comes from a few challenges, being down in matches. There’s no easy road to victory. You’re going to have your bumps. That’s the way I see it.
Today could have been a match in two sets. I made it more difficult for myself, but I’m still here, so…

Q. When you’ve seen Vika go through the injuries she has, you know your own experience, what goes through your mind as you’ve watched her progression from being at her lowest point to where she is today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I have a lot of admiration for athletes that go through injuries and that come back. It’s one of the toughest things for us because we’re so used to a schedule. When you’re injured, you’re just happy to try to be healthy again.
You’re doing so much work that’s not even part of your sport. It’s just a rehabilitation, trying to find the right treatment, the right doctors. So many question marks. When are you going to get better.
That’s always tough because as an athlete, you always have a schedule. When you’re injured, you don’t really have one. So your expectations sometimes are never met, as in my case. You keep waiting for that moment to be healthy, knowing that during the time, everyone’s playing and working to be better, and you’re kind of missing out.
So I have a lot of respect for that.

Q. When you played Serena here 11 years ago, you were a big underdog. You would be an underdog again this time. Anything about your mindset going into that match 11 years ago that you can rekindle or is it so far long ago?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t think so. I think it’s always a new match. I haven’t had great success against her. I would love to change that around. That’s how I look at it.

Q. 11 years is a very long time. Do you ever find yourself replaying memories of 2004, when you were on Centre Court? Is it a feeling that you’re very restless to recapture?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think if I would be replaying it in my mind I wouldn’t be focused on trying to win my match or trying to beat my opponent that’s in front of me.
When I walk out on the court, I look around, I see the spectators, I see the new roof which wasn’t there when I won, you really feel that special feeling. I’ll have it for the rest of my life.

Q. What do you say to people who are critical of how vocal you are and the noise you make on court? Quite a reaction on Twitter today as there generally is. What do you say to that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t say anything. Do I have to?

Q. It’s up to you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is there a choice? Is there like a yes or no, multiple choice.
I have nothing to say. It’s nothing new. It’s not a new question, so…

Q. You have a pretty special rivalry with Azarenka. If it’s Vika in the semifinal, what do you think of it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: If it is Vika? As I said, this would be our first meeting on grass. Actually, I feel good that I played against her a couple times in Indian Wells and Rome, I believe. So it will be a third surface this year.
I think it’s been good for me to be able to face her early in the season. Of course, we know each other’s game very well through all the years.