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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Sharapova-Myskina feud threatens Russian unity

A bitter feud between Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and French Open winner Anastasia Myskina is threatening to sabotage Russia’s defence of their Fed Cup crown in 2005 at a time when the country’s tennis tsarinas are on top of the world. Myskina led Russia to their first ever Fed Cup title on Sunday to add to her Roland Garros crown. Maria, who was also overlooked for the Olympic Games, wasn’t selected, but the blonde bombshell was still at the centre of an explosive row which is tearing the Russia team apart. The fall-out had been simmering since Sharapova defeated Myskina in the semi-finals of the WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles earlier this month when the Wimbledon champion was hit with a code violation for receiving coaching from father Yuri.

Maria Sharapova

The 17-year-old Sharapova insists that she is on good terms with the Russian players although she can’t hide her love for the United States. “I feel a lot safer in America than I would be going back to Russia,” said the girl who left behind her impoverished upbringing in Sochi, when she was nine, to train at the Bolleteri Academy in Florida.

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