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January 10, 2015
M. SHARAPOVA/A. Ivanovic 6‑7, 6‑3, 6‑3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Fairly hot and sweaty night.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. When you called out Sven on the court in the first set, what were the words there? What you did you need or what did you want to say to him?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That was a while ago. I forgot. Seemed like the match took a few turns since that moment I called him on court.
Yeah, usually it's just I had lost a few games and just a few words of encouragement and motivation. Just a few bits and pieces.
Q. A turning point?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Was there a turning point?
Q. I was thinking in the second set when she was up 40‑Love and you broke her.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think in a match that's that long, I mean, look, I definitely had the advantage in the first set. Even though I wasn't playing my best tennis, most of games I was up 4‑1, came to deuce. I was not making any first serves in the first set specifically. She was a much better server and a much better returner.
So she was doing a lot of things better, and she deserved to win the first set, no doubt. But I hung in there. It was important to get that break. I held that and, yeah, the third set came down to a few points really.
Even though I was up a break, she was returning quite well and still serving very well, even though her toss was kind of all over the place. But she managed to serve extremely well tonight.
Q. What does it mean for the Australian Open? Is this the sort of high‑quality match you need before a Grand Slam?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I mean, I came into this final expecting a tough match. The matches we had last year were always very intense and high quality. That's what you expect in a final atmosphere.
Of course I wanted to try to win in two sets today. I lost that first set having the advantage at 4‑1, but that's the way it went.
I am just happy that I managed to get it in three.
Q. Two hours 40 minutes against a top 10 player. Is that an indication of how the pre‑season has gone?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, definitely. I love coming back here, starting here. I played four good matches against very different types of opponents. Couldn't have asked for better preparation.
Q. Close to No. 1? Do you care?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was nice in the off‑season not having to hear anything about ranking. I think that's just a question that comes up throughout the year. It's a nice thing it write about and it gives people a topic to write about.
But maybe if I was a teenager or someone that was just looking to kind of break through and be No. 1 for the first time maybe I would be more upbeat about it.
But I'm happy with the way this week went and that I did‑‑ the goal is to win as many matches as you can. That gives you a greater opportunity to get to that ranking.
So, yeah, looking back, now that I won a tournament maybe I have a better chance of going higher in the ranking. Right now I am No. 2; the next spot is 1.
But that's how it is. Middle of last year people were talking about how I was barely in the top 10 for I think four months. With any match I could have lost, could have been out of the top 10.
But I held my ground and I pulled through with grit and fight and managed to finish the year off No. 2. That's not something I talked about with my team or myself. It was just focusing on matches.
Q. What was going through your head after the second set when she took the medical timeout? Same thing happened in Cincinnati.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think she has a re‑ tape done, so...
Q. Yeah. Could you please talk a little bit about your coaching with Sven.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's been a year since we've been together. During the course of the year you learn a lot about each other and I think you get a little bit more comfortable with each other.
He understand my mentality and the way that I play with every match that he watches. Going into the partnership[I knew he had a lot of experience behind his back. Many years of coaching against me, which I actually thought was a bonus. He's pretty straight up. He has great energy.
You know, I like his way of thinking. He's critical, but I think in the right way. He doesn't push me down so much that I don't feel I can get back up. He's very encouraging.
I think at this stage of my career, after being with a few different coaches, it's a great fit for me at this time.
Q. Can I ask you about your schedule? On your website says you're going to play Fed Cup.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am.
Q. It because all the players have to play because Olympics? You have to get your Fed Cup up? Why are you playing Fed Cup basically?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think the beginning of the my career I made it quite clear with the Federation that playing Fed Cup three times a year was not going to be part of my schedule every single year. That's just the way it is. There is no secret about it. I play a very limited schedule throughout the year. Maybe less than other top 10 players did.
I think my body was, especially when I was younger, a bit more fragile than the others and I always felt it was important for me to try to gear up for the big tournaments.
Fed Cup is not just about two matches. It's a commitment of a week. And also, unfortunately I don't live in our home if we play at home. I'm not home because I live in the United States.
So the timing is always a bit off, after a Grand Slam or then right before the clay season.
So, yeah, having to go and play on a hard court right before you go and play on clay, physically it's never really worked out for me. That's always been pretty clear and open.
Q. Would you like to win a FedCup with Russia? It's one thing you haven't got on your quite extensive CV.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I want to contribute to the team as much as possible. I'm not guaranteeing that I'm going to play all the three matches if we keep winning, but I'm starting with the next one. So after the Australian Open.
Q. You still like the Olympics too, and obviously that's part of what's going on with it, too, right?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Talk a little bit about that:
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, the Olympics is a big part of the culture I grew up with. In Russia, Olympics is a very big event for everyone, for people that were not involved in sports. It just brought the community together, just like it does in every country.
So it was just really meaningful to me. It was sad to miss Beijing, but meaningful to go out in London and get a silver medal. My grandpa still talks about it. Grandpa, I won like five Grand Slams and you're telling me about my silver medal.
Yeah, just something that kind of is in my heart and something I grew up with. It was really the only television I was allowed to watch late at night was some of the sporting events during the Olympics.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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