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Sharapova hoping to shake off rust in Cincinnati

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Originally published on: 13/08/13 00:00

The world No.3 has not played since a surprise second round defeat to Michelle Larcher de Brito at Wimbledon last month, when she slipped and injured her hip.

She withdrew from the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and last week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto but is confident she is back to full fitness ahead of a tough opening match against Sloane Stephens.

"Everything's feeling fine,” Sharapova said. “I didn't want to come back to my first tournament not being 100%. I feel it's important to spend extra time to get ready and heal and make sure I'm ready to go once I play tournaments again.

“I'd rather play when I'm feeling good and healthy than when I'm not. You definitely learn what your priorities are with time."

Sharapova has started working with former world No.1 Jimmy Connors after parting company with previous coach Thomas Hogstedt last month and she is pleased with her new arrangement.

"At this stage of my career, his experience is really priceless, and his work ethic as well," Sharapova said of the eight-time major champion. “I loved his philosophies about no substitute for hard work – he certainly emphasizes that in every single practice session we have.”

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the US Open, Sharapova admits she is hoping to shake off the rust in Cincinnati this week as she gears up for the final Grand Slam of the season.

"I haven't played a match in many weeks – I might feel a bit rusty here and there this week, maybe I'll have to get through a few tough matches and make a few more unforced errors than I would expect myself to make,” she said. “But obviously the goal is the US Open, and I'm here to prepare for it."

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