Google Down the Line!: UPDATE - The FED CUP Chronicles: Sharapova claims, "...I am always invited to play for Russia."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

UPDATE - The FED CUP Chronicles: Sharapova claims, "...I am always invited to play for Russia."

The "FED CUP Chronicles" continue this week for World No. 2 Maria "Shriek"apova. The Russians beat a Venus Williams-led U.S. team in the semifinals after Maria withdrew from playing with an injury; they will take on Italy for the title. Recently, Russian FED CUP captain Shamil Tarpischev was quoted as saying, "I feel it just wouldn't be right to invite Sharapova this time."

However, Maria claims a different story according to a recent post on her website:

"It is important to me that people realize some reports about my status with the Russian Fed Cup team during the past two weeks are false. Here are the facts.

I have been in contact with Shamil Tarpischev through my father who is currently in Moscow, and he has assured us that he was misquoted by some of the Russian media. He never said that I was not invited to the Fed Cup Final. He repeated that I am always invited to play for Russia.

I have told Shamil and the Russian Federation that I will make myself available to play in the finals if they need me. My injury created a problem, and I understand and respect that many of my Russian teammates who competed in the first two rounds should get the first chance to play in the finals. I told Shamil that I will respect his decision on the players he chooses in the finals. I congratulate the players on the recent victory, and, whether I am chosen to play or not, I will be cheering for Russia."

Who is telling the truth here? It sounds like Tarpischev is playing both sides of the draw, appeasing the players who have played the previous rounds, but keeping Maria on a string since they're playing on fast, indoor carpet - a surface that plays up her strengths.

Let us know what YOU think is going on.

UPDATE 7/27/07: World No. 7 Anna Chakvetadze, competing at the Bank of the West Classic and member of the winning Russian FED CUP team, had this to say about Maria and her chances for the final:

"The captain decides, but I think it would be weird because we played quarter-finals and semi-final with the same team," Chakvetadze said.

"I don't think that the captain will decide to take Maria. She's a great player, but usually people don't do it like this. Tarpischev is a diplomat, so you never know how it will go, but I would be okay if she's on the team. I have nothing against her."

(image courtesy of AP Photos)

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