WTA Championships Semi-Final Interview

Q. Obviously that looked like that win felt pretty good. As the second set is going your way and obviously after the match, it was clear that this win meant a lot to you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, of course. Of course victories mean a lot to you. That’s what you play for and practice for. And especially when you find yourself in a losing position a few times during this year you want to try to figure out how to change those things around.
Again, you’re giving yourself opportunities to go out there and try to do that. I did today, so obviously it means a lot to me.

Q. Yesterday you were saying you needed to be aggressively consistent. Seemed like you pretty much executed, what 90%, 95% of the time what you wanted to do?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think so. Yeah, certainly didn’t make as many mistakes as I did in some of the previous times, but also returned a little bit better. Although I still feel like I could have returned better than I did today.
But overall I’m happy with the way I came in and didn’t let anything bother me, even losing to her the last couple times just trying to figure it out.

Q. Just talk a little bit about fitness overall. Clearly you look more fresh than she did today; wasn’t moving that well. I guess fitness really matters in those kind of tournaments when it’s condensed, six days, and being in shape enough to play day after day means something.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Everybody is hurting at this time. Some show it more than others.

Q. Do you think it’ll be a PG13 final?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: (Laughter.) That’s a good question. (Smiling.) Look at you. You’ve been thinking about that one, right? I see, I see. You get a bag of candy for that. (Laughter.)
I’m not sure. Let’s see how it turns out. Obviously tennis will do the talking hopefully. Look, it’s also a match that I’m looking forward to. I haven’t beaten her in a long time. She’s certainly the one to beat this year, especially the second part of the year with the way she’s played.
Again, to be in the final of this event, I mean, I’m extremely proud. No reason why I can’t go out there and give it my all.

Q. The tour pretty much stops for two months after this tournament before Australia. This is the tournament you look back to as having been your most recent match for a while. How important that was in terms of ending on the right note against Azarenka after all the matches you played this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It is, but I’m going to be on vacation in four days, and not one part of my mind will be thinking about the matches that I played with her or anyone else during this year. I can guarantee you that.

Q. What will be on your mind then?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t know what’s going to be on my mind, but I’m going to have a Strawberry Daquiri in one hand and a magazine in the other and my eyes are going to be looking at the ocean. I’m going to be very satisfied.

Q. You seem to do a good job of convincing yourself, even after taking a series of defeats like you did to Victoria that you can actually go out and do it ‑ which you managed to do today. So against Serena you said you haven’t beaten her in a long time. You still believe if you execute you can win the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely. I’ve done it before. I know against her it’s been a really long time, but there are many players that I’ve faced against, especially coming up where there were things that just weren’t working at that time. Whether I wasn’t strong enough yet ‑‑ Justine was a really good, example. I always had difficulties against her and never quite recovered well in the rallies. You know, she was moving me around with all the different shot‑making.
But, I mean, obviously against Serena there is a lot more power involved. You know, her serve, she served extremely well against me in the last few matches that we played.
But, yeah, obviously you got to hold your own court as well, so…

Q. Do you think about choosing less tournaments next year?

Q. Do you think about playing less tournaments next year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Less than I do?

Q. Yeah.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t really play that many so I don’t want to really worry about that. I think people want me to play more and I shake my head, so…

Q. Is there a greater sense of satisfaction as the years go by that you are still capable of playing the level of tennis that you’re playing and being in a final of this merit tomorrow?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: So much. I mean, I have to think about it every day because I‑‑ well, first I was doing the interview on the court and the journalist said, you know, It was eight years ago that you won. Eight? Yeah. You won Wimbledon and came to the Championships and faced Serena in the finals, and here you are eight years later in the Championships with the career Grand Slam and you’ve been No. 1 in the world a few times.
I was like, Wow. You stop and think about those things. You know, it’s incredible. I wish I could have those moments more often, those moments where you sit down and reflect on what you’ve achieved. There is no better feeling than coming back from what I had to go through and not knowing if I was able to hit a serve again and to be in that position of being in the finals and being the world No. 1. I’m very, very happy.

Q. Putting aside tomorrow’s match, after this entire year up to today, is it fair to say that you are better now than you were in 2008?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I never compare and I don’t like to. I think every year and every situation is different. We grow and we learn, whether it’s tennis or other things in life. I never like to compare myself to where I was tennis‑wise or life‑wise.
Everything is a learning curve and you go through it. There is not one situation in life that’s the same.