Maria Sharapova: 'It's been a great ride, there are a lot of positives'

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Maria Sharapova: 'It's been a great ride, there are a lot of positives'

Maria Sharapova lost to Anastasija Sevastova 5-7 6-2 6-4 in the fourth round at the US Open, but she was pretty satisfied with the tournament she played. She won three matches, including the first round against World No.2 Simona Halep, and will be back in the top 100 rankings next week.

'It's been a really great ride in the last week', the Russian player said in press conference. 'Obviously coming off a loss, you know, it's a quick turnaround in order to reflect all the positives that happened in the last eight or nine days.

But ultimately I can take a lot from this week. It's great to get that major out of the way. It was an incredible opportunity. I'm very thankful for the opportunity. I did my best. I can be proud of that.' Analyzing the match lost, Sharapova added: 'I think I allowed the match to become physical.

I don't think I played as aggressive or was stepping in as much as I did in the first set, especially in the beginning of the match. She definitely has the matches behind her back. She's got the variety. She'll make you hit a lot of balls.

She likes to play with confidence. She wins a few of those rallies, and all of a sudden the momentum changes. Yeah, I definitely took a few steps back a little bit and gave her the time to dictate play and get more balls back.' What is the biggest thing you can take away from this tournament in terms of looking forward to future Grand Slam tournaments, what you might be able to achieve? 'There's so many things.

I think there are a lot of positives. You know, playing four matches, playing in front of a big crowd and fans. Just competing, you know, being in that competitive environment. That's what I missed. You can't replicate that anywhere, especially at a Grand Slam.

So for me to come out, Monday night was a special night for me. I will always remember it. I'm very grateful to have had that opportunity to bring it. As I said, I came in not playing a lot of matches. We all know that. Didn't have much practice.
Obviously always disappointing to be on the losing end of things.

But, yeah, I mean, reflecting back on the week, I can be happy.' What's really made you such an incredible player, what has lifted you above so many years to be a great star? 'I think just my desire to compete.

I mean, we all talk about the Grand Slams and obviously how important and special they are. There's no doubt that we all feel that when we come in the building, we come onto center court. An element of being on the other side of the world, maybe playing a smaller event or maybe playing an exhibition, I love the feeling of playing tennis.

I mean, as a woman, it's a very powerful feeling to feel like you're great at what I do and can be even better and improve. I was given a gift when I was a young girl, and with the help of a lot of people, a lot of different paths, yeah, I have the ability to keep doing that.

So I think the competitiveness and the desire and the love for what I have, I mean, I think there are a lot of things that can be taught in tennis, but maybe those things just have to come from within.' She will play Beijing next, so in a month. 'I want to build a good base.

More importantly, I want to play. I just want to play matches. I mean, there's no secret recipe to that. You just have to go and figure it out, whether you're ahead in a match or behind in a match. No one's going to teach you that.

No one's going to bring you that. It all comes in that moment, in that circumstance. I mean, I'd love to finish the tournaments well, however many I have. Yeah, have an off-season. But still a long way to go till the end of the year.' How do you compare how you feel now after four matches to how you felt when Stuttgart was done? 'The good thing is I know I'm not going to be in an MRI machine tomorrow.

I think that's a pretty big positive (laughter). Had a few of those in the summer. Yeah, I mean, look, three-set matches are challenging. I love being part of them. There's an element of concentration, focus, physicality that goes into all of it.

And you have to put it all together. Yeah, you just have to get through it. There's no doubt that not playing those matches certainly cost me today. I didn't feel like I was thinking a little bit too much and not playing by instinct as maybe I would be in those situations, but those things happen.'