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Monday, July 31, 2006

Maria Sharapova expected in Montreal

Maria Sharapova says her ankle injury appears to have healed and she looks forward to a strong hardcourt season leading up to the U.S. Open in September. On her itinerary is a stop at the Rogers Cup event Aug. 14-20 in Montreal, after tournaments in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Maria Sharapova

"I'm excited - I'm finally injury free," the 19-year-old Russian said on a conference call Thursday. "I had a good tournament at Wimbledon and then had a week off, and now I'm training for the U.S. Open series. "Last year, I went into the U.S. Open with almost no matches. This year, I'm looking forward to building my game and my confidence going into the U.S. Open."
"I'm a work in progress," she said. "Just because I won a grand slam when I was 17 doesn't mean I'm going to get a win at every slam. I'm happy. I'm 19, and to be consistently in the top five in the world and getting to the semifinals of grand slams and coming close. . . I've played some really tough matches against Amelie, and Justine. I don't feel I'm at the peak of my career," she said. "I feel like there's so much work ahead of me that can make me better. I can't start worrying about the fact that I haven't won a grand slam since (2004)."

"Experience has a lot to do with it. I'm playing girls who are 24 years old. They didn't win a grand slam when they were 17, but they're at the peak of their careers at 24 or 26. I've always been a player who plays by instinct," Maria Sharapova said. "I can't worry about what other people want me to do. You travel with a coach to help you with things. They scout the players and things like that. But on court, you don't worry about what you're going to do. You play your game."

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