Quotable Quotes... Sharapova & Li

Two of the highest-paid female athletes on the planet sat down with the Parisian press Monday.

Published February 07, 2012 12:00

Quotable Quotes... Sharapova & Li
Li Na

PARIS, France - From the trip over to what Paris means to them, Maria Sharapova and Li Na answered a wide range of questions from the press at the Open GDF SUEZ on Monday. Here's a taste of what they said...

Maria Sharapova
On the trip from Moscow to Paris and how she's feeling...
"I got a little under the weather in Moscow, a few days before we started Fed Cup, which was a little bit unfortunate. But it seems to happen to me every single year, so it's nothing new. It's a big change, coming from such different weather conditions. But it's just the way it goes with the scheduling, and I've wanted to play this tournament for so many years now, I'm glad I finally made it."

On her Australian Open fortnight...
"I went into the Australian Open not knowing how things would go, because I didn't have much preparation - I didn't play competitively for a few months, because of an ankle injury. So personally, to have that result in Australia was quite big. It was a good beginning to the year, but we still have many tournaments to go. I'm really looking forward to the season and seeing how it shapes up. I hope I'll even be able to improve and get better."

On her goals for 2012...
"I'm really looking forward to the grass court season. Wimbledon is always a big one for me and a big goal every single year. And two weeks later it's the Olympics, which I've never been a part of in my career, and it's something I've wanted to do and be a part of since I was a little kid. In Russia as an athlete that was the biggest dream, the biggest goal. Tennis wasn't really on the map when I was growing up - it is now. But Winter Olympic sports were the main big things then. Representing my country will be a huge honor for me."

On this being her first appearance at this tournament...
"There have been so many scheduling interferences and times when it just didn't work out one way or another. I got injuries and got sick, and every day in the hotel I had the doctor coming, and I was like, 'Can I play, can I play?' And he was like, 'No, I don't think so, not when your face is orange!' It's one of those tournaments I guess where you just really want to play and things just don't work out. I'm just happy that after so many years I have finally made it."

On the attraction she feels towards Paris...
"It's a tournament I've really wanted to attend, for many reasons. One obviously, being in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. That's a big attraction for me. I love coming back here and being in Europe."

On Monica Seles, who will play an exhibition in Paris this week...
"I got a chance to play against Monica Seles a couple of times, when I had just started playing professional tournaments. She beat me very easily! But I admired her game and her drive. She had that belief in her and always fought for everything. She was always someone I looked up to when I was younger."

Li Na
On being back in Paris, the city she won her first major in last year...
"Yesterday I was practicing at Roland Garros. I was taking photos. This city was a dream come true for me last year."

On the jetlag...
"I went to sleep at 8 o'clock yesterday and woke up at like 4 o'clock in the morning! I don't know what happened, but I hope I can do better tomorrow."

On the difference between the second half of 2011 and 2012...
"After the French Open last year, I didn't do well on the tennis court for a whole half year. I lost my concentration. After I won the French Open, so many things came to me that I had never experienced before. Sometimes I was thinking maybe I should retire, because I wasn't able to concentrate anymore. But after a half year I knew what I had to do, excatly what I had to do on the court. I had some very good winter training, and I've been feeling much better on the court since the start of this year. I totally understand what I'm doing."

On becoming so famous so quickly after winning the French Open...
"After the French Open, my life totally changed. This time when I played Fed Cup, so many fans were coming - the whole stadium was totally full, not like before. I still remember, four years ago I think, China against France, in China. Suddenly there were so many fans coming to see the Fed Cup, and I figured out they were French fans! Now it's completely different... before they would be like, 'Oh is it her?' but now they know who I am and what sport I'm in."

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