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Sharapova upbeat over fitness

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:11

Last year Sharapova used the Hong Kong event as her only preparation for the Australian Open and was expected to follow the same route to Melbourne.

The 21-year-old Russian, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on October 15, said: “I’m just not ready to play against the top-class competition in Hong Kong, although I remain hopeful for Australia where I’m the defending champion.”

In the new revamped team competition, world number 18 Anna Chakvetadze will replace Sharapova in Team Russia alongside world number seven Vera Zvonareva and 19-year-old Alexandra Panova.

World number one Jelena Jankovic leads the European challenge alongside Hungary’s Agnes Szavay and Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher De Brito, while Wimbledon champion Venus Williams joins Argentina’s Gisela Dulko and compatriot Coco Vandeweghe, the 2008 US Open junior champion, in the Americas team.

Finally, Wimbledon semi-finalist Zheng Jie, Indian number one Sania Mirza and Hong Kong’s Zhang Ling make up the Asia Pacific team.

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