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Since 1st March, 1999
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ĎI donít think anything could convince me to temper my aggressioní
- I had a great open... I couldnít have asked for more in my first one: Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza and Maria Sharapova after their fourth-round match at
Flushing Meadow on Sunday. Sharapova won 6-2, 6-1. (AFP)

That Sania Mirza is a mega-hit with the media as well was evident from the number of questions lobbed at her at the post-Maria Sharapova match conference in New York on Sunday.

The following are excerpts:

Q: Was it an enjoyable experience'

A: Yeah. I mean, there were a lot of games which I could have taken. But I had fun out there. I had a great Open. I donít think I could have asked for more in my first one. Iím very happy.

When you play, you tend to be very aggressive, try risky shots. Do you think your experience here will convince you to temper that a little'

I donít think anything could convince me to temper that. Thatís the sad part. But, I mean, I guess people just have to accept it, you know. Thatís how I play. Iím going to have maybe 50 unforced errors one day, but Iím going to also have 50 winners that day. Thatís what I compensated for. I think people just have to accept me the way I play'

I could add variation to my game, but Iím going to win matches only when I hit those winners. If I win matches by moonballing, then Iím not going to satisfy myself the way I played that day. I enjoy hitting the ball as hard as I can. I enjoy taking risks. And I believe that you always have to take risks. You know, I enjoyed every minute out there.

When you play a person as strong as Sharapova, does that make you rethink that a little'

No, I mean, if I would have pushed the ball, I probably would have lost love and love. So I had to go for my shots, and I did. I got a few. I got a few in. I got a few out. That just gives me experience. Probably next time, you know. Iím probably going to have a lot more matches, hopefully, against her, and that was just a lesson.

What is it youíll do differently next time against Sharapova' Anything surprise you about the way she played'

Letís think about it. I have time to think about it. Iíll come up with a game plan, you know. She obviously played some really good shots out there. She gets to a lot more balls, a lot tougher balls ' with a lot of players when I hit them theyíre winners ' but she gets to them. Weíll see.

You played on Arthur Ashe. Is this the highlight of your career so far'

Yeah, definitely. I mean, fourth round in a Grand Slam, first US Open, first year on the Tour. I think Iím very pleased by the way the year has gone for me till now.

The last time you played Serena Williams in Australia, you said you were fighting some nerves. Did you have that problem here' How could you compare the two experiences'

No, I donít think I was nervous, not even a little bit, actually. I was expecting it. I knew it was going to be packed and I was expecting there was going to be a big crowd for her and me. So I was prepared for it mentally. I donít think I was, you know, I wasnít intimidated.

The fact that there was a large crowd and they seemed to be cheering for you, how does that make you feel'

Good. Itís nice to know that people really like you and theyíre really, you know, for you, wherever you go. It just motivates you even more.

Your second serve was a problem. Youíve been working on that. Any regrets on this match'

No. I mean, you know, I donít have regrets. My serve, weíve been trying to work on it, but we couldnít because I had the stomach injury, so really didnít get time in the past month to work on it. I think, except for my serve, I played a good match. I hit the ball well. I was feeling it well. You know, Iím just happy that I made it to the fourth round.

Youíve had the fastest climb up the ranks of any WTA player in the past 12 months. What do you think the watershed point was'

I donít know. It just happened. You know, I canít really pinpoint one thing that happened. Just Australia and then I won the tournament in Hyderabad' just gave me more confidence every time I stepped on court. Even this match gives me more confidence, even though the score line is 2 and 1. I think it was much closer than that.

There were lots of deuces and advantages that I had. There were a lot of breakpoints I had. 4-2, 40-love in the first set ' I mean, love-40 ' I think if I would have broken her, it would have been a different story if it had been 4-3 or 5-2. You know, itíll just give me more confidence every time I step out now.

Do you find at certain points, you pushed back with the groundstrokes. Is that something you can do yourself'

I always believed that. You know, I always say that I can match the best when it comes to the groundstrokes. Itís just probably a few other things like the physical fitness or the serve that I kind of have to work on to, you know, match them. You know, it didnít surprise me. Yeah, like I said, itís going to give me confidence the next time I step out on court.

Surface wise, would this be your favourite or do you think you prefer grass'

Hardcourt. I mean, you know, we have just one season on grass. Thatís just before Wimbledon. I like grass. Itís a fast surface. I like fast surfaces. I mean, I definitely prefer hard to any other surface.

Where do you go from here'

Bali. I play in Bali and then Calcutta.

Any words for your audience who was cheering for you'

Iím sorry to have kept you up so late. Itís like 2:30 in the morning there. Thanks for all the support. I just hope that I can do better next time.

Are you really sorry, or would you like to have kept them up for another couple of hours'

Yeah, hopefully them and me. I guess thatís just the way it is.

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