M. SHARAPOVA/K. Zakopalova 6‑4, 6‑7, 6‑2







Q.  That was one tough battle out there for you today.  What was the toughest?  The conditions?  Your opponent?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, combination of everything.  My opponent I thought played extremely well, the best that she’s played against me.  I have played her a few times already.

You know, she’s dangerous.  She can play well, you know, because, well, first of all, she’s had very good wins, so she’s confident.  On top of that, when she hits the ball, I think some days she goes out there and goes for it, and it seems like everything just goes in and stays so low over the net.

I mean, a great example is when I was up in that first match point, I mean, she was just drilling the ball.  I’m sure some other days she goes out and makes mistakes.  And that’s probably why she came to this tournament not seeded.  But she’s certainly dangerous.

Yeah, the conditions were difficult, so it was a good test for me.  You know, I had chances to finish it in two sets, and I didn’t.  But I came out strong in the third set, and I guess that’s, you know, really what matters and nice to be in the quarters again.

Q.  Azarenka lost, Na Li lost.  What do you think of the women’s tournament so far?  You’re by far the favorite now.  I mean, I know you play game by game, match by match, but it must go through your mind, like, wow, a chance.  What do you think of that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I have no control of who wins and loses except on my matches.  So, you know, those are just things I can see and hear about and those are just results.

You know, the people that you mentioned, I’m not ‑‑ those are not the matches that I’m facing against next or today.

So it’s ‑‑ you know, my next opponent is the winner of Kanepi and Rus, and that’s who I’m going to be facing.  That’s my only goal.


Q.  You were talking the other day about your ability to go through three‑hour matches, which now you’ve had this year, last year, and today you had another one.  Just talk about that, your feelings, maybe strength of body and how maybe that gives you more confidence?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, well, it was certainly a tough second set.  We had really long rallies.  My thought the way I came out in the third set was really good.  I mean, I started being more aggressive and ‑‑ at least I felt like it.  I mean, it felt like I was starting to hit the ball a little bit more and not waiting for her mistakes more than anything.

Physically, I felt fine.


Q.  Couple years ago, three, four years ago, five, you have these three‑setters and you get to maybe quarters, semis, and not be able to last.  Is it different now where you feel like you can go through a three‑hour match, two‑hour match and just keep pushing so it’s not an issue?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s more like I felt like I would always have to save myself, because knowing that it’s seven matches, I never was ‑‑ I never felt like I recovered that well.

But I think with experience and just being physically stronger, I’m much better at that.  Here you have a day off, so it’s like helpful.


Q.  What’s your take on the umpire?  There seemed to be a lot of close calls and she went out of the chair a few times.  What happened?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, the first one was the most questionable one, I guess, because she couldn’t find the mark.  I mean, I don’t know how to ‑‑ like, she said that to me.  What do you say to that?  You can’t find the mark?  I mean, it was like, Well, isn’t that your job, is to find the mark?  I mean, we’re on clay courts.  Usually when there is no mark, it means it’s on the line.  Obviously that wasn’t her theory.

And then she said ‑‑ I asked her to ‑‑ I asked the line judge where the mark was.  She said, Well, I walked around that area; I might have stepped on the mark.

So I don’t know what to say to that, either.  She had an answer for everything out there.

Yeah, and then the second one, that was ‑‑ I don’t know.  I’d have to see the replay.  I don’t remember if I made a gesture that it was out or not.  Maybe that was the right call.  But in the moment it seemed like I was correct in both situations.


Q.  What’s the inspirational idea behind your jacket that you’re wearing on the court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, it’s Paris.  And I love tailoring very much.  I love menswear things.  Collared jackets are one of the things I wear in everyday life.  It’s classy and you don’t see it.  You don’t see it on the tour and it’s something very different.  It’s not sold.  I don’t know if anyone would wear it going to work out or anything.  But it feels like a unique piece in a unique city.


Q.  And the question you’re ‑‑ quite often a lot of people call you the one and only glamour tennis diva.  Are you annoyed by that?  Or do you think, well, I am?  Or what do you think of that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Glamour and diva.  Hmmm.  Yeah, that’s me.  (Smiling.)

I think a lot of it is perception, and the visual that people have of ‑‑ it’s understandable, because what the outside world sees is you playing and doing press conferences.  And being on the red carpet and everything is just so glam and beautiful.

But at the end of the day, it’s all big one illusion, and then reality sets in.  And, you know, I don’t go to sleep with my makeup on or don’t wear makeup on the court.

I’m sure divas do that, right?  (Smiling).


Q.  You have been asked this before, but if you could field a two‑part question:  How would you compare the Sharapova today with the Sharapova as the tennis player before the surgery?  Do you feel you’re more athletic?  How have you changed?  And if you would play yourself in that era from before the surgery, how do you think that match would come out?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think I’m just much more grateful today for what I’m doing and what I have, more than anything.  You know, when you start playing the sport from a young age and everything just kinda happens for you and you’re on ‑‑ not a roll, but a routine and you take it for granted that things can happen, that can get you away from the sport.

So now when I’m playing, I, you know, really feel like I’m much more positive.  And maybe in certain situations when I’m angry at myself, I’m not.

But overall, I see my career much more positive than I looked at it back then, especially during the tough days and losses and things like that.

And the second question was playing against myself?


Q.  Yes.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don’t know.  I was thinking which dress would I be wearing?  I don’t know.  That’s a tough one to answer.


Q.  Your wrist appeared to be bothering you some there.  How much of a factor was that?  Did you hurt it when you fell to the clay, or…

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  When I fell on the clay?  No, that was my first fall of the clay season, which is the biggest shocker.  I usually have a few before the French Open.

My wrist, I think I got jammed, I’m not sure when, but whether it was a return or a shot.  Someone said it was a serve that she hit in the body, which was ‑‑ I don’t know how many body serves she hit.  That was probably the only one.  That’s why I was probably shocked.

I guess I jammed it.  But it should be fine.  It’s fine.  Nothing.  Nothing to worry about.


Q.  Your next opponent could be Arantxa Rus.  Do you know her and what do you think of her?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I do know her.  I played her once, I think, on clay in Madrid last year, I believe.  It was a three‑setter.  I think she’s a lefty, right?

Yeah, I mean, I haven’t actually seen any of her matches here, but maybe I’ll get a chance to watch some on TV when I get home.  They don’t show too many matches other than the French players here, so maybe I’ll have to watch it on the Internet.

But, yeah, it would be good to see that match, definitely.


Q.  How do you feel about playing on grass and how do you feel about playing on clay?  Is there any chance you’re as good on both surfaces right now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I actually like that we play on clay before we go to the grass, because I feel like once you get on the clay, I mean, the points are definitely longer, but you learn a little bit more about the point construction and execution and being ready for an extra three shots instead of thinking it’s a winner.

I think all of those, movement and fitness, I mean, you get stronger sliding out there and recovering.  For the grass, that’s helpful, because there you have to stay so low.

But, yeah, I like that transition.  It’s a tough one.  It takes a few days to get used to, but I enjoy it.


Q.  You win that wonderful car in Stuttgart.  What do you do with it?  Do you ship it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  What do I do with it?  I pick a car.  Well, yeah, I guess I ship it to wherever they can ship it to.  Hopefully they can ship it to the States.  No, they said they would.

It might take a little bit longer, but, yeah, I’m excited about it.  Excited for a change.  I like my car, but maybe I’ll be driving another one, even though my dad sounds like he might steal it.


Q.  Your coach, Thomas Hogstedt, he’s for long time already in tennis, men’s tennis, women’s tennis.  You seem to be going on very well.  Can you tell a little bit about his role and what he has taught you?  I think he’s, especially for clay, excellent coach.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Just for clay?


Q.  For that surface.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I won’t tell him you said that.

Yeah, it was definitely a tough transition for me.  I said this many times.  It was something that was difficult for me, because I had the same coach in my father for many years.

So to bring in somebody new was difficult at first, because it’s not just, you know, the beginning, it’s not just going on court, but you have to ‑‑ you know, you have to like the person and know him well.  I mean, you see him all the time, and I was just used to all the same things.  So it was different to see a new face in my team.

But, I mean, as a coach, he’s ‑‑ I think he’s done a really good job.  He brought a lot of energy in my game.  Definitely in my practices, you know, he came in with a lot of belief that I could get back to the top, which meant a lot to me.

You know, he didn’t come in when I was No. 1 in the world.  He was eager to work with me when I was, I don’t know what, 15 or 16 in the world.

So that was a positive.  He thought he could, you know, help with many things.  Overall, I like the way he’s encouraged me.  I like the belief that he’s brought.  I think that, you know, sometimes two people can say exactly the same thing, but maybe when it comes from a different voice it hits your brain differently, especially women.

Yeah, I have really enjoyed it.


Q.  Do you have to be the boss with your team, or is it more a collective process of thinking?  Does there really have to be one boss?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I’d like to think so, but it never works.  (Smiling.)

I mean, it just depends what, you know ‑‑ depends if we’re deciding on tournaments or like exhibitions or events.  It’s just ‑‑ I mean, my dad is very involved with those decisions, and, yeah, I sometimes just ‑‑ I mean, some things I like to be in control of.  Other things, I just really don’t care and they tell me what to do.


Q.  What about game plan?  Who’s in control:  you, Thomas, or your dad?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I’m useless with game plans.  That’s probably the one thing he just gets so frustrated with me about.  I don’t know.  I go out there and I do my own thing, and then he’s like, after the match, like, Really?  What’s the point?  I mean, what’s the point of having me?

But I apologized when I hired him in advance, so he’s okay.