Australian Open boss confident on Sharapova’s appearance

January 7th, 2009 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Maria SharapovaSydney, Jan 7 (IANS) Australian Open tennis tournament director Craig Tiley is confident that defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia will play this year.Tiley said Sharapova would be at Melbourne Park, despite having played just one match since July because of shoulder surgery.

Sharapova disclosed last week she had only been hitting balls since Dec 15 on a short preparation in Florida dictated by the persistent shoulder injury which required an arthroscopy in Oct.

“I think she is going to play,” Tiley was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph.

“We have been in communication with her team and while it’s not confirmed, I am confident we will see Maria on our shores as we have hoped. The sooner we see Maria in Australia the better, obviously.

“She has entered and if she is not there it will be because time has run out. We still have a bit under two weeks to go.”

Sharapova last week pulled out of her planned matches before the Australian Open. She would fall in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings to about No. 15 if she does not play in the Australian Open.

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