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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NASDAQ-100 OPEN: An interview with: MARIA SHARAPOVA (March 28) THE MODERATOR: Questions for Maria, please.

Q. How did you see the match today inside the court?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought it went well. I was ready for a tough match because the last time I played her, which was in Tokyo, we had a really good second set, which could have gone either way. So I knew I had to be ready this time.

But I thought I did everything pretty well. I served well when I needed to, and I broke her.

Q. Would you like to have a more challenging match in this tournament?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think even ‑‑ it just seems like the score has been really easy. I think I've gotten a few challenges in a few games.

I'd rather win like this than have tough matches and physically be ‑‑ feel a little weak next round.

Q. I'm sure that you expect to win this tournament. Do you feel like it's a revenge of Indian Wells maybe?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think about it as revenge. I just think about it as another tournament in which I want to perform really well and hopefully win.

Maria Sharapova

Q. What happened in that match, what do you feel inside, what happened inside you in that match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was two things: One was that it just wasn't my day. I just wasn't able to find a way to fight, which I usually do even when I'm down, you know, a set and a break or two breaks. I usually find a way to open the door, and I don't think I found a chance to do that at all.

And one thing was that Lindsay was just playing too good, and I wasn't playing well at all. So, you know, when your opponent's hitting winners off both sides, it's hard to find a rhythm. Plus you're making errors when you get a chance to win a point. You know, that's not a great combination, so...

Q. Was it your confidence at some moment in the match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It wasn't about confidence. I felt pretty good going into the tournament. I had a big record, I won two titles before the tournament. It was nothing. I think it was just the day. It was just not my day, I mean. It's over, I don't really want to look back anymore.

Q. Who are your toughest opponents that you see in the tournament now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't. I just try to focus one match at a time. I don't really try to focus on who I might play in the final or whatever. I think every opponent can be a challenge. You just have to be mentally and physically ready for it.

Q. I don't know if you answered this already, but were you aware that your countrywomen both just lost, Kuznetsova and Myskina?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I had no idea.

Q. You feel like you're holding the banner for Russia today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I hope so.

Q. What does that tell you about the depth of the talent on the tour, when two Grand Slam champions go down on the outside courts in the same day?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you can't win every single day, that's just a fact. You know, it's impossible to win every single match, and it's one of those days where, you know, they lost. And, I mean, everyone's going to have a moment like that. There's only one winner in a tournament. So out of how many people in this draw, they're all going to be considered losers and only one's the winner. Unfortunately, that's just the sport we're in where, you know, you're either the winner, but the chance of that is slim, you know (laughing).
Q. I guess Kim Clijsters is a dangerous floater?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, she's definitely back. She just won a title and is playing some great tennis. But, you know, after what she's been through and being injured so long, it's great to see her back.

Q. It's possible the Williams sisters will meet in the next round. Before you were like, you know, doing so well, as a fan, did you look forward to those matches, and do you feel like maybe the interest is not quite there as it used to be?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: To tell you the truth, I could care less (laughing). There are other things that I'm more worried about than that.

[FastScripts by ASAP Sports...]


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