Maria Sharapova ’s Olympic dream under threat
Maria Sharapova’s hopes of playing in the Beijing Olympics suffered a major blow after she was told that she would not be considered for the Russian Fed Cup team to face Italy in September’s final.
Captain Shamil Tarpishchev lost patience with the former world No. 1, who has yet to represent her country. Sharapova pulled out of the semi-final against the USA last week with a shoulder injury, a decision which once again delayed her long-awaited Fed Cup debut. “I feel it would be incorrect to invite Maria Sharapova to play against Italy as we reached the final without her,” Tarpishchev said. “I want to call up those girls who won the semi-final with the USA to play the final tie.” Tarpishchev’s decision not to call Sharapova into his squad may cost the 2004 Wimbledon champion a chance to play at the Olympics.
According to the rules of the Russian tennis federation, only those players who performed in the country’s teams in the Davis Cup and Fed Cup would be considered for Olympic selection. The Russian skipper said that he would finalise his decision concerning Sharapova’s chances of playing in Beijing, later adding he would also decide whether or not to call Maria Sharapova into his Fed Cup squad next year. Russia, who beat the USA 3-2 in Vermont last weekend, will take on defending champions Italy, who had defeated France, in the match for the Fed Cup title on 15-16 September. Russia won the Fed Cup in 2004 and 2005.