M. SHARAPOVA/K. Kanepi 6‑2, 6‑3





Q.  Talk about your game.  You just seemed very controlled out there.  Your returns were fantastic.  Talk about how you feel coming into the semifinals.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, well, it’s certainly nice to be in that position again.  It’s my third time in the semifinals.  After a tough match in the previous round, you know, I’m happy with the way I improved in this match.

I thought that was really important, because she’s someone that always competes and plays really well against top players especially.  She has that extra motivation.

Yeah, the return is very important because she can serve very well, has a big first serve, so that was a big key today.

Q.  Was it easier than expected today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, you never know what to expect.  You just have to go out there and hope ‑‑ I mean, I hoped that I would raise my level today because I knew it would be a tougher match.

I expected her to come out and play really well because she’s capable of that.  I think I was just ready for it.


Q.  Maria you served better than the other day, it looked like, and you were moving forward more on your groundstrokes and seemed to control a lot more points than you did against Zakopalova, no?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I wanted to.  There were a few things I wanted to improve from the other matches.  I just thought I played very defensively against an opponent that likes that type of game.

Today I did want to be aggressive and I did want to try and step in and move forward and get the first good hit on the ball.


Q.  So Kvitova won.  Do you want to talk about that?  It’s a good little rivalry.  You guys play each other pretty tough.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, she’s an extremely tough opponent, someone that I have had good success in our last couple of previous meetings.  But always tough matches.

The last one in Stuttgart was a tough two‑setter for me.  She had opportunities in that second set to win it, so yeah, she seems to be playing really well.  When she’s confident when she’s hitting the ball she’s quite dangerous, so, yeah, obviously it’s going to be another level, as well.

I hope that I can raise my level, as well, too.


Q.  Obviously you haven’t won every tournament you played this year, but you have been incredibly consistent for quite a while.  Could you just talk about that quality of consistency, of going deep into all kinds of tournaments again and again?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, that’s obviously the goal in all the tournaments that you go to.  You try to prepare, no matter if it’s a smaller event or it’s a Grand Slam.  You know, my philosophy is always if you’re in the tournament you’ve got to try to win it, and you’ve got to try to perform as well as you can and improve and get better.

It doesn’t matter at what level the tournament is at.  So the energy that I have been playing with this year has been really helpful to me, because I feel like I’ve really stepped up and I’ve been really positive and improving.

Throughout the tournament as well, when I had a couple of sloppy matches I felt like I was able to turn that around.  Yeah, it’s been a good, solid year so far.


Q.  On a totally different note, earlier this year you said one of your favorite things as you travel the tour is people watching, the different cultures.  Obviously this is one of the great cities for that.



Q.  Talk about that people watching.

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s the best here.  So eclectic.  Maybe Tokyo is up there, too.  I love people watching in Tokyo.  It’s pretty unique.  Paris is another level.  I wish I could take everyone’s style and put it in so many cities around the world we visit.

I love the way that people go about their lives and the way they sit at cafes like a few centimeters from the cars going by.  It’s like, is that really nice or not?  They seem to enjoy it.  Everyone sits close to each other.  You’re listening or eavesdropping into their conversations.

Yeah, very different, which I enjoy.


Q.  Can you just talk about what you have done to become a better mover on clay specifically this season or in seasons past and what Thomas has brought in terms of advice, movement, strategy?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I don’t think it’s always been, Oh, well, let’s improve movement on clay.  I think it’s just about improving movement in general on any surface that you’re playing.

Obviously there are a few different movements on clay with the sliding and the recovering and getting back into the point which you work on, but I think it’s just a general sense of movement.

I work with Japanese trainer that I’ve known for a long time, physical trainer from Florida.  He was in Australia for a few years and now he came back to the States, so I started working with him in the offseason a little bit here and there.

I’ll see him again after here.  Yeah, that’s also been nice to have him.  Yeah, I think it’s a team effort.  Also comes down to your own self, as well.  If you push yourself and if you believe that that will help you, then it will.

You know, if you go out doing the same things and it gets tiring and boring, you don’t push yourself as much, doesn’t help you.


Q.  Is it fair to say that even if you don’t get the first strike or control of the point you feel little more comfortable than in years past in staying in a rally?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, certainly over several years ago.  Absolutely.


Q.  Obviously you’re known for your groundies, but what of all the shots in your arsenal or the different exchanges you have, what gives you the most pleasure, the most joy yourself?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  The shot?  Probably the swing volley because I don’t have to bend my knees.  I can just kind of jump up and hit it.  (Smiling.)

Yeah, no, I’ve always liked hitting swing volleys.  I can practice them all day long.


Q.  Another question but back to the swing volley.  You didn’t use it that much last year; this year you seem to be using it a lot.  Why is that?  Did you lose faith in the shot or was it strategically you felt like you needed to do more things?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well, I think it’s just having that confidence of moving forward and not waiting for another shot to come back, and also recognizing what you did to maybe get in the position of moving forward.

You know, if you feel like you opened up the court but maybe don’t believe that you did or you’re not looking for the next shot, then a lot of it is about just doing it.

Sometimes, you know, you hit a few good shots and you’re like, Well, I’m playing so well but everything is coming back.

Sometimes it’s not so much about the opponent but it’s really about you and getting in there and hitting it.


Q.  About the cafes, could you see yourself as a part of the cafe society in Paris, meaning if you weren’t a player, hanging out, drinking coffee, long lunches?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Who wouldn’t want that lifestyle?  It’s great to me.  I could eat at L’Avenue every single day, have the escargot and the little strawberries they have for dessert, gain like 20 pounds.

But that’s all right.  They walk everywhere and they bike.  That would help.


Q.  Your first big result post shoulder surgery was at this tournament, in a Grand Slam.  So if that’s right, did that change any feeling you have for this place or what you could do on clay, that kind of a breakthrough?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, it was the second tournament that I had played.  I actually wished that I would have played before, but I couldn’t.  I had goals for maybe starting in Australia or before, but that didn’t happen.

Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if it has something to do with my results since then or today, but I was certainly very happy that ‑‑ like I was happy whether it was here or where I started in Poland, which seemed like the pit of the world, you know, at that time.

I was just so happy to be playing again.  I mean, I look back now, and, I mean, I was really ready to get back.