WTA Championships Round Robin Interview

Q. You arrived here I think earlier than a lot of the other players and you looked quite comfortable out there on court.

Q. How is the court playing? What’s your sense of it?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I arrived earlier because I think I was one of the few that was traveling quite far. So it felt good. I think the same as last year. Maybe a little bit slower, but I don’t know. I had a short memory last year. Didn’t go too well.
Yeah, I was happy about the way I started. Certainly the first few games went quite long. When you give her a lot of time, she uses it quite well. That’s what has brought her success this year. I really tried to be more aggressive as the match went on.

Q. We’ve talked about your slow hard court or slow court play a lot this year, but it seems like you’ve adjusted well. You don’t mind dealing with her high balls, you seemed to be getting on top of pretty much everything she was giving you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I tried. She’s a player that likes time and likes to hit the high balls and use the dropshots and the angles. Again, that is when you have time.
I think if I’m playing my game well that she doesn’t have that time to create all those things she likes to and maybe goes for a little bit more than she would want to maybe on the serve or in the groundstrokes.
That’s pretty much my goal.

Q. Did you have any time after the US Open to work on your game practice‑wise and try some new things, or do you pretty much day, Okay we’re still in the season; can’t try anything radical; I’m just going to get to the end and maybe work on some things after the Championships?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: To be fair, I had a little bit of trouble getting going after the US Open. Just making my way to Asia and knowing that I have to play so soon after the Open, just after such a long summer I think that was why I was just not really there in Tokyo.
Really changed it around when I went to Beijing. I knew I needed to do step up. It was an event I wanted to do well at.
But, no, overall of course you always want to work on things that you feel need to improve, because there is never really time, if you think about it. Our off‑season isn’t that long, so…

Q. I believe you hit 22 winners with your forehand today. Is that about as good as you’ve felt on any one stroke ever?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I wasn’t counting them, but I guess it’s a good number to have. (Smiling.)
Yeah, I mean, like I said, I don’t think I did that in the first maybe four, five games. As the match went on, I certainly felt like I needed to in order‑‑ I mean, you don’t want points going way too long against her.
If that occurs, then, okay, you’ve got to be a little bit more patient. I did want to be the more aggressive one today.

Q. What would you like to say about the atmosphere? Seems like you have a great fan base here in Turkey.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I do. I mean, I felt the energy last year. It was so nice to see the success of the tournament, especially for a first year. You never quite know what to expect and how the fans will react and how much attendance and how many people will come and support you.
I mean, last year was one of the most successful Championships the tour has had. I was looking forward to experiencing that feeling and the atmosphere and the crowd again this year.

Q. You obviously broke through first at Wimbledon winning there on a pretty fast surface ;more recently in your career big results have come for you on slower courts, especially on clay. Do you think you’ve sort of evolved into a different sort of player over the years where this is now a better environment for you maybe than the reverse, younger?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I hope not. (Laughter.) No, because my favorite tournaments are on the faster court, and I really want to do well there.
It’s tough to say. I was in the finals of the Olympics and semis of the US Open. Those are probably two of the fastest courts we play on during the year. I mean, it’s all relatively speaking obviously. You want to adjust to wherever you’re playing, whether it’s slow or fast.
Maybe do a few more drills if you’re a little late late or slow getting up to the ball when the court is slower.

Q. Did you follow the Lance Armstrong stuff?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A little bit.

Q. Were you shocked? Big cultural icon like that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’m not a big cycling fan. I don’t think I’ve ever made a point to turn it on TV and watch it. I’ve known his success and what he’s achieved obviously. He was a great athlete in what he accomplished and went through being sick and coming back.
It’s unfortunate, but I guess it happens.

Q. Sort of brings up the question as to whether or not doping is stringent enough in all sports. Do you think the controls are enough in tennis?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Are they enough?

Q. Are they enough, yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Considering I landed from New York and my first day back at home I got a wake‑up call at 6:00 a.m., I think that’s enough. (Laughing.)
Yep, knocking on my door. I was like, Thank you. Welcome home.

Q. But you’re okay with the whereabouts rule in general?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am. I know it seems difficult to have to give one hour every single day, but I usually have my hour somewhere in the middle of the night because I’m not going to be anywhere but in my bed.
If they come get m,e up they can wait and I can wait until I have to go to the bathroom. It’s the most awkward thing when they knock on your door at 6:00 in the morning in you’re walking around in your robe and your dog is going, What is going on? Who are these strangers? It’s just a really bizarre situation.

Q. Is there any chance in the future we might see the Sugarpova candies in Turkey?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I would love to see the candy here. I had an attempt of bringing two bags with me, but between me and my team they were gone on the plane. Turkish Airlines swallowed them up.
I would love to see the candy come here. It’s going to be actually available internationally in a couple weeks, so people if want to order online at sugarpova.com it will be able to come to Turkey.
Great news. I’ve been getting a lot of mail that people are upset they can’t get it around the world. So, you know…