Sharapova writes off Wimbledon chances

Maria Sharapova admits she will go into Wimbledon with no real expectation of repeating her 2004 triumph.

updated: June 21, 2009 14:45 IST
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Maria Sharapova admits she will go into Wimbledon with no real expectation of repeating her 2004 triumph.

Sharapova is feeling her way gently back into action after 10 months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury and has played just three tournaments so far this year.

The Russian looked more than a little rusty as she was out-played by China's Li Na in the semi-finals of the pre-Wimbledon WTA event in Birmingham and is refusing to consider a long run at the All England Club.

Asked if it would be expecting too much to win a Grand Slam so soon after a long lay-off, Sharapova said: "I think it is. It's a little too soon to put that in my mind.

"Just to be here is already an accomplishment in itself. When I look back to where I was say, 10 or 11 months ago, or even three months ago, I'm definitely blessed to be here.

"Every single tournament right now is still a test and for me it's almost like the beginning of the season, whereas for many players it's already the second half of the season.

"I'm still testing out where my game is, where my body is and where my shoulder is.

"I will take it one match at a time. This is definitely a time in my career where I can't look into possible third round, fourth round or semi-final matches."

Sharapova, who plays Ukrainian qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova in the first round, is currently ranked 59th in the world as a result of her injury woes.

She conceded she was surprised to hear that the All-England Club had done their former champion a favour by handing her the 24th seeding.

"Was I surprised? I guess I'd say a little bit. It's strange because I didn't really give much thought into it before it even came out," she said.

"I've been out of the game for so long, you know your ranking's going to drop and you don't expect to be seeded."

After so long out of the game, Sharapova is just happy to have the chance to get her competitive juices flowing again.

"There are many things I missed about the game," she said. "Getting pumped for the match the second you go on the court and hear the crowd and know you're in that environment again.

"Then the competitiveness of each match and pulling through tough situations in the match, or when you're up trying to close it out."