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Maria Sharapova Looking to Rekindle Past Glory at Wimbledon

Posted on June 09, 2011 by Pete South

After reaching the French Open semifinals, Maria Sharapova will look to take the next step at Wimbledon.

This week Maria Sharapova chose to withdraw from the Aegon Classic tournament in Birmingham, a competition the Russian traditionally uses as her one and only warm-up event on grass before Wimbledon. Having recently lost to Li Na in the semi-final of the French Open, Sharapova has stated the reason for her withdrawal as being an unspecified illness –and given the regularity with which she normally takes part in the Eastbourne-based competition it would only be natural to worry for her wellbeing ahead of Wimbledon which is due to begin in just eleven days.

Maria Sharapova has played in Birmingham on the last seven occasions, winning the title twice and reaching the final on two other occasions, and as a result it is normally a fair representation of how the athlete is performing. But she is not the only major player to withdraw this week after Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli has also pulled out of the tournament through injury, leaving Estonian Kaia Kanepi as the top seed remaining in the event. Anyone planning on placing a Wimbledon bet 2011 will probably have to look elsewhere for form guides.

However, Sharapova has previous at Wimbledon – it was of course on the grass-courts of this competition where the Russian burst onto the international scene by taking apart Serena Williams five years ago. Now, provided that her illness is not too serious and that her injury fears are in the main behind her, she will have her eyes firmly set on a fourth Grand Slam title and a second Wimbledon crown, something the Wimbledon betting indicates she has every chance of doing.

“I enjoy going out to the grass from the clay – it’s probably my favorite part of the season. I feel like I have a lot to look forward to,” she said.

The field is certainly wide open for Sharapova to make her mark with the Williams sisters announcing their surprise decision to compete after season blighted with injury; Kim Clijsters entering the twilight years of her career and the likes of Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki yet to fully bloom into the fantastic athletes they will inevitably one day be. Now aged just twenty-four but with a wealth of experience behind her, Maria Sharapova is quite rightly being cited as many bookies’ favorite to lift the Wimbledon trophy once again.

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