Deja vu for 'cold' Sharapova in Melbourne

Mon Jan 7, 2013 3:04am EST
 
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By Greg Stutchbury

(Reuters) - World number two Maria Sharapova must be feeling like she has been down this road before.

Last year the Russian arrived at the Australian Open without any match practice after struggling to overcome a nagging ankle injury sustained at the 2011 year-ending WTA Championships.

The problems forced her out of the Brisbane International, the only tournament she had been scheduled to play before the season's first grand slam.

Twelve months later, the four-times grand slam winner is again entering Melbourne lacking match practice after pain in her collar bone caused her to skip Brisbane, won by Serena Williams.

Not that Sharapova seemed too concerned.

"It's much more important for me to be healthy and to be ready than to try to go out and play a few matches," the 25-year-old said after her withdrawal in Brisbane.

"I've always built my career around the fact that it's very important for me to go into something like the Australian Open believing and knowing that I'm healthy, that I'm confident.

"I don't exactly need to play five tournaments in order to feel that way."   Continued...

 
Maria Sharapova of Russia speaks during a news conference at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz