Sharapova makes no promises over Brisbane return

Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:33am EST
 
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(Reuters) - Having pulled out of the Brisbane International tournament through injury for the last two years, Maria Sharapova might consider it a victory in itself if she actually gets out on court at the Pat Rafter arena on Monday.

The tournament is perhaps more important to the Russian world number four as a warm-up for the Australian Open this year as she is on the comeback trail after four months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

At least she made it to Brisbane this year, something which an ankle injury prevented her from doing in 2012, but she was giving no guarantees that she would be quickly back to the form that has won her four grand slam titles.

"I want to bring the work I've done in the off-season, try to bring that onto the court as soon as I can. Will that happen this week? I don't know," she told reporters on Sunday.

"I know that if I have the effort I had in the off-season I'll be at a level I want to be."

Sharapova plays France's Caroline Garcia in the first round on Monday evening, her first match since the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in August and her first under new coach Sven Groeneveld.

The 26-year-old recruited Groeneveld in November, ending a period without a coach after she dispensed with Thomas Hogstedt, who had been working with her for two-and-a-half years, and Jimmy Connors, who lasted a month, in quick succession.

"From the first time we met I really liked what he had to say," she said.

"I like when someone comes in and is honest and truthful and says it like it is. He's that. He puts it all out on the table. He's a team player. He works with everyone on my team, something I was missing for a little bit of time."   Continued...

 
Russia's Maria Sharapova returns a shot to Serbia's Ana Ivanovic during their exhibition match in Bogota December 6, 2013. REUTERS/John Vizcaino