Maria Sharapova was rumored to be skipping Indian Wells yesterday due to her balky right shoulder but, apparently, that was only half true.
The injured Russian will reportedly only be competing in doubles play at the PNB Paribas Open, according to Matt Cronin over at Tennisreporters.net:
Three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has decided not to play singles at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells next week, but will play doubles with Elena Vesnina at the March 9-22 event in California, TennisReporters.net has learned.
Even though Sharapova has been practicing daily at the Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida for the past seven weeks, her surgically repaired right shoulder still gets fatigued after three consecutive days of two out of three set matches and her doctors aren’t convinced that it’s a good idea to push it in singles during the next two weeks.
But if all goes to plan, the L.A. resident will play singles in Miami at the end of the month. Sharapova underwent surgery last October, and hasn’t played since the Canadian Open in early August.
The 21-year-old hasn’t played doubles since mid-2005, but does own three career doubles titles, taking 2004 Birmingham with Maria Kirilenko, and 2003 titles in Tokyo and Luxembourg with Tamarine Tanasugarn. She’s never played with fellow Russian Vesnina. She’s said to be itching to get back into action and thinks that being around the other players – as well as hitting with some of them -- will help ease her transition back on to tour.
The former No. 1’s ranking has dropped to No. 23 and she will drop semifinal points at Indian Wells, the same locale where she first re-injured her shoulder last year in the third round against Alona Bondarenko.
It's been a slow go for Shrieka but at least she's getting back. Her camp, though, still has not released a official statement about the situation. Can we expect a new "Weekly Doodle" in our future?
UPDATE: Well, it's not exactly her "Weekly Doodle" but her website is confirming the news...
Maria will be making her comeback from her shoulder injury at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells which begins on March 11th. Maria will not compete in the singles competition, but will compete in the doubles tournament with Elena Vesnina. Maria has never played with Vesnina before and this is Maria's 1st doubles tournament in nearly 4 years.
"I am excited to be playing competitive tennis again," said Maria. "The healing process takes time, and requires things to move more slowly than I would like, but I am taking things one step at a time. I look forward to playing at the BNP Paribas Open, it is definitely one of my favorite tournaments in the world."
"We are very glad that Maria will be competing at the BNP Paribas Open," said tournament director Steve Simon. "It is great to see her healthy and back on the court. The game has missed her and we wish her the best of luck and hope she has a great tournament."
Color me happy!
(image via getty)