WTA Finals Round Robin Interview

Q. 5‑1, second set, big transformation. How do you explain that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A little impatient. Her doing a really good job of retrieving many balls. That’s her strength. That’s what’s won her many matches.
Yeah, just maybe going for it a little bit more than I should have and not really being patient enough.

Q. Just wondering, stepping on the court, how aware are you of your qualification scenarios? Did you know when you won the match that you weren’t through?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I actually just wanted to go out on the court today and I wanted to get a victory. As I said in my previous press conference, I treat every match as if I’m going to be out in the next match, because that’s how we play on a weekly basis. We’re not playing in a round robin format.
That’s the philosophy that I have, and my mind was trying to get a victory. I wanted to win this tournament on a win. I’m very proud. It would’ve been very easy for me to get down on myself. I had so many chances being up, having match point, and just saying you know what? I’ve lost two matches. Just so easy to just let it go. I didn’t, and that’s what I wanted for myself today.
I got the job done. I know I’m not moving forward, but I’m proud of that effort and to finish the year off on this way.

Q. Maria, going through that second set, and as you kind of started to feel like maybe it might been slipping away or maybe the chances were coming and going, what was going through your mind? Was it a sense of panic? Dial down? What’s happening mentally there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s more I was thinking of maybe on some of those I should have been coming in and hitting a swing volley. I think there were some moments of hesitation on certain points. Maybe off of a good return I just didn’t take advantage of that and really allowed her to get back in the points after her serving 115 kilometers an hour. Those are just serves I should be able to punish and get easier points.
But on a court like this that gives her the time to get back, that’s what she loves. A little bit impatient, her doing a great job of retrieving it deep and making me hit another ball, yeah, kind of one thing after the other.

Q. Not angry though after the second set, so you’re saying what? I want to go home now? I need to play hard now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just really wanted to win this match. I had so many chances and it was just not the way that I wanted to go out in the tournament.
That was my goal no matter how physical the match or how tough it was to lose that second set was, I wanted to win it.

Q. You want to talk the year now. Were you very happy all year? What were you thinking going out?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I am. I’m very happy with‑‑ I mean, going into this year I didn’t really know what actually my personal expectations were. I had one goal, and that was to try to remain as healthy as possible, to keep my shoulder strong.
I’ve done an incredible job of that. I think it’s one of the few seasons where I haven’t withdrawn or retired from an event.
I also had a new team. I feel like there are a lot of new things in my career at that point, and I was still kind of trying to get myself back after an injury.
A lot of question marks at the beginning of the season, and I’m happy to be sitting here and saying that I’ve added another Grand Slam to my resume, that I’ve won great titles, I had a great clay court season, and a lot of good wins, a lot of tough match that I pulled through that I could have easily lost.
We all did as a team and we’re still working. Take a few weeks off and hopefully have an injury‑free off‑season and get ready for next year.

Q. Speaking of the new team, with Sven in particular, now that we’ve had the full season, what is it exactly that he’s been able to add that’s been different from coaches in the past that has just contributed to you and to the team?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just feel like it’s very easy to have an open dialog with him about what you did good, about what you need to improve on, about what we’re going to work on.
Everything is ‑‑ I mean, communication has been really great I feel as a team with everyone.
I mean, of course he is the main guy on the team, but he allows everyone to speak. I think that’s very important. At this stage of my career I’ve gone through many coaches, a lot of different teams. I also kind of know what I want and what I feel works for me.
He’s a great listener, and yet when I need it he pushes me. But also a very calm, positive person. I think that’s also nice to have in a team. Because if you have different personalities, you have times when you lose matches, it can be quite tough and frustrating. He kind of gets everyone together and finds the positives out of that.
That’s really inspiring, especially at this stage of my career.

Q. Looking forward next year, would say that getting the No. 1 ranking is the top priority?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think adding more Grand Slams is the top priority.

Q. In the shorter run, off‑season plans, thoughts, anything you been longing for now that you get out of the hamster wheel for a bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Before I know it, I’ll be in the off‑season swing sore and not wanting to get up in the morning.
It’s such a quick turn around, honestly. I know right now I’ll be heading to Tokyo to do some work for Sugarpova, which will be great. I’m actually staying there for a bit of time. It’s one of my favorite cities.
So that will be fun. I’ll be with my friends. Then I am going to go on a little break and, yeah, meet up with Grigor at some point when his season ends and, yeah, take from there.

Q. Next year the coaches can have a tablet with the real time data to help in on‑court sessions. What do you think about that, and what do you think your coach thinks about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven’t spoken to him about that. It’s not something that has been a topic of our conversation lately. If it comes up, I’m sure we’ll discuss it.
I’m not a big person on stats, but I know that he likes to look at it. He sometimes takes what he feels is important and shares it with me. Other things he doesn’t share with me.
Maybe he will; maybe he won’t.

Q. Three matches here. Looking back on the those matches, what were you most disappointed with in your game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t want to talk about disappointments. I finished the tournament off on a win. I could talk about many things that I want to improve and this and that, but it’s not right time for it.

Q. What will you take away from the tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I had a very tough start. I had a very tough match to the tournament. It was physically really long, over three hours. I think that hurt me a little bit against Petra.
But today in a situation where I could have lost a third one, I didn’t.

Q. Just a quick one about the fans. You’re very, very popular here. A lot of fans on social media now are talking about the fact they’re disappointed you’re not going to play the weekend. And do you have a message for them?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, there is no guarantee that I would’ve been playing on the weekend, so I’m sorry to disappoint.
But I do have pretty loyal fans and it’s been nice to come back after six years, I believe, when I played my exhibition and to play in front of them again.
Hopefully I will be part of the weekend next year.

Q. You mentioned going to Tokyo, but are you planning on sticking around in Singapore for a few days, having some fun?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I’ve been here for a couple weeks, so…

Q. After a long season, is there ever a sense of relief that you can just put the racquet down and not look at it again for a few weeks?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yes, absolutely. I’m very good at it, too. I’m a pro. I don’t even travel with my racquets. It’s such a nice feeling. It’s really the only time you can do that, not travel with your tennis bag. It’s so rare.
But I love it. I’ll be signing my racquets tonight and, I don’t know, throwing them in the bay or give them to charity, but I’m not traveling with my tennis bag to Tokyo.

Q. Do we have a chance to see you maybe next week in Paris for BNP Paribas Masters?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No. I won’t be in Paris.