Yuri Sharapov takes a break as Maria slugs (French Open diary)

May 28th, 2009 - 7:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Maria Sharapova Paris, May 28 (DPA) Yuri Sharapov appears to have taken his informal leave from coaching, as his three-time Grand Slam champion daughter Maria Sharapova makes her comeback from injury at the French Open.
“I think after I won my third Grand Slam, he said, ‘Look, I like hiking and skiing a lot,’ and he kind of wanted to pursue that,” said Sharapova, playing in her second event since her nine-month shoulder rehab a few weeks ago.

“So he’s currently enjoying his life, and I think he really deserves it.”

Sharapova is carrying few expectations on her return, preferring to build up slowly after her long absence. And she’s doing fine with her own team of coach, agent and others.

“He didn’t go to many of the tournaments last year, as well,” Sharapova said of her father who took his pre-teen daughter to Florida from Russia and did odd jobs around the Bollettieri academy in Florida while she was moulded into a world-beater at the tennis factory.

“He (Yuri) he was with us training in Florida and Los Angeles in the last couple of months when I was getting back and practising a lot and playing matches and so on.

“But I don’t think you’ll see him at too many tournaments. It’s not strange because actually he didn’t come to a majority of the events last year,” said Sharapova.

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Blake finds it easy to forget another Paris failure

James Blake says in the grand tennis scheme, the French Open is not that huge for his hardcourt-bred countrymen.

“For the Americans, a lot of times this isn’t our main goal of the year,” said the 29-year-old who joined the exit queues in the first round at Roland Garros this week. “Ours is generally Wimbledon and the US Open.”

And he says that focussing on Roland Garros could actually backfire for his compatriots.

“If we were to try to prepare completely for the French Open, we would be giving away some of our advantage at the Wimbledon and the US Open. That’s where we excel.

“We’d rather, I think, prepare best for what our strengths are. I think Andy (Roddick) has proved that by winning the US Open and getting to the finals of Wimbledon a bunch of times (twice).”

Blake now has his thoughts on Roddick’s chances on the clay of Paris as the only US man still in the current mix.

“I actually think he’s still got a great chance to do well here. He’s playing well. I was practicing with him earlier in the week, and I see his chances here,” said Blake.

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