Defending champion Maria Sharapova was shocked by Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland to crash out of the US Open 2007 on Saturday.
I couldn’t wait to read what Sharapova had to say about this disappointment. The most discussed thing about this third round match was Radwanska’s excessive moving, or to say dancing, when receiving Sharapova’s second serve. According to Maria, it didn’t distract her. Moreover, she gave her opponent all the credit. Read the interview for the details.
- Just talk about the last six games because it seemed like everything just fell part.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, although I won many games in a row after losing the first and being down 1-0, you know, you’d think I’d have the momentum in the third set with a break. But I just didn’t really feel that way inside of me for some reason today. You know, just going to have those kind of days where you’re always trying to come through and always trying to find a way even though you don’t feel like things are exactly going your way. You know, that’s just what happens.
- Can you talk about how much of this match was about you not being there 100 percent or was it more about her just playing great?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You got to give her a lot of credit for finishing the match and winning it. A lot of girls in her position on a big stage in a big stadium against a top player sometimes get a little nervous. She held on there, and all the credit to her for winning the match.
- Did you feel like you were not there this morning before the match or was it just sort of as it got underway?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There’s no excuses. It’s not like today I stepped out on the wrong side of the bed or I did something differently. Like I said, I’m going to have these types of days where although I might be up a break in the third set, but it just doesn’t go my way.
- With the serve was the wind playing a factor with the toss, and was she a little bit distracting when she’s kind of dancing around?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don’t worry about what my opponent is doing. You know, I just worry about what I have to do. The conditions were obviously different than the other two matches that I’ve played. But I’m not going to say I lost the match because it was windy or because she was doing something and I was not.
- You played her one other time this year. Is there something about her game that you think is tough for you that makes the matches closer?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, it’s hard to say because the last match was on clay and it was my first tournament back, you know, after being away from the game for a few months. It’s difficult to say. Definitely a tough opponent. You know, she gets a lot of balls back and makes you work for the points. You know, but I mean, I have to look at today’s match and see what I could have done differently in order win it. I know the mistakes I made. But today I just made those mistakes and you just hope that next time it doesn’t happen.
- After the first set, did you adjust your game at all because you came out so strong in the second set?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I mean, I guess I stepped in the court a little bit more. But even though — I just — I don’t know. I don’t feel like I had that belief that I usually do. I don’t know whether I put a lot of pressure on myself coming into this event, because I felt like I was starting to play a lot better. I felt like physically — I felt really good. You know, I felt healthy. Yeah, I don’t know. It was just — it’s tough to say.
- Did you feel upset that the audience applauding your opponents?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, she was an underdog coming into the match, and you have to understand that the underdog is the girl that’s playing well against the top players are always going get applause. That’s part of the game. That is normal in any sport.
- How is your shoulder?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s fine.
- Given how well you struck the ball in the first two rounds, didn’t you think maybe at some point in the third set your feeling for the ball would come back?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You would think so, yeah. You wait for it, yeah. It just wasn’t there. Like I said, you always try to find a way to, you know — even though I won a lot of consecutive games, even though I was up a break, I just didn’t feel — I don’t know if it was a combination of the circumstance or the wind or the opponent playing well. I don’t know what it was. I just didn’t quite feel like me out there.
- What’s the emotion now, the defending champion and sort of an earlier exit than you wanted?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s always tough. No matter if you lose in the semis, whatever round it is. But especially being the defending champion, it’s tough. Definitely not an easy day at the office for me. But, you know, it’s — I could sit here all day long and come up with excuses and say how bad I played. But at the end of the day my opponent won the match and I lost it. Better go on from here. Clearly it hasn’t been my best year. Just hasn’t been my year. But that’s the way things go. I got take the good and I got take the bad and I got move on, just keep working hard, and someday the work that I did before this tournament, beginning of the year, whenever it was, it’s going to pay off. I’m not worried about that.
- Have you ever had an opponent move that far up close to the service line on your second serves?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s really not about what the opponent does because the ball’s in your hands. It’s up to you to go out there and serve. I don’t usually don’t think about where my opponent’s standing or not.
- We asked her about that, and she said Maria Sharapova didn’t like it, did that as a tactic to try to throw you.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It will be interesting to see if she does it again next time I play her.
- Your dad left after 5-3 in the third set.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, he didn’t. He was there.
- At that point, did you pretty much know at the change that nothing’s working for me?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Throughout the match, like I said, it just didn’t, you know, it didn’t feel steady. You know, whether — but, I mean, until the last point is played, you can’t really think negatively. You know, no matter how bad things are going, you’ll always try to be positive about it, even though it was quite difficult to be.
- What did you your father tell you after the match?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You know, I just talked to my team a little bit. It’s tough to say because it’s not like they’re going to say, You should have hit this or you should have done that. You know, it’s tough to correct something a few minutes after you just lost a match. Like I said, you just to have move on. I have a whole future ahead of me. I’m not going throw myself a pity party here.
- How long does it take to you recover?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: We’ll see. Every loss is difficult. But I don’t know. I’ll tell you at the next tournament. It’s tough to say.
- Despite all your off court success, you’ve always been very good at directing yourself, and you enjoy the winning so much on the court. Does a campaign like this year make you feel even more that hunger going forward?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In the future, you mean?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Sure. That’s what I play for. I play to go in the Grand Slams and compete, and I’ve done it before and I’ve won two and I know I can do it again. There is no doubt about it. Just because today things didn’t go my way and I lost, I’m not going to put my head down and think that I know that that’s it. Could have easily gone my way today. She could have started playing worse or I could have played better, but today was just today. I’ve got to forget it. I’m looking forward to next year. This year is not done. There’s no Grand Slam this year, but, you know, I still have a few tournaments to play. There’s always years to come.
- Does she have what it takes to win a major do you think?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you know, I think with experience, experience is definitely going to her with every year. She’s going to grow as a player. She’s going to be — her game will become more mature. She’ll improve a lot things in her game, you know, her serve. I definitely think her second serve is her weakness right now. I’m sure as she plays more tougher matches she’ll learn and she’ll be a better playing. For sure she has that chance. See if she takes it or not.
- What happened to your second serve today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it’s a combination of everything. Like I said, what happened to all my shots today? I could sit here and try to think, What happened? I could blame the wind and blame my opponent, but I’m not going to find reasons why one shot didn’t work today and her shots did.
- Do you feel shocked a little bit?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No.
- What’s the feeling overall going on inside you right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It’s disappointment. There’s no happiness, I’ll tell you that. I mean, look, at the end of the day it really is a just tennis match. You know, some days you win and some days you lose. Some days you lose in the finals and some days you lose in the third round and some days you lose in the first round. You just never know how it’s going to play out. Sometimes you work really hard for something and you get it when you want it, and sometimes you work really hard and you don’t get it. You never know when God’s going to bring down those gifts. So I’m waiting for those Christmas gifts. (source: Tennis X)