Jan 2, 2009

Maria Sharapova not ready for Hong Kong exhibition match

Happy New Year!!!

Finally I'm in the mood to blog again! My resolution this year is to focus more on the Asian tournaments as well as the players in this region.

So let's kick off the new year with news from the women's tennis players.

Recently the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons’ Association announced the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova from the Hong Kong event.

I'm not sure about you but I'm so eager to see Sharapova back in the court again.

She was reportedly said to be reluctant to withdraw from the exho.

A full recovery from a shoulder injury has allowed her to only start hitting balls just over two weeks ago. She's playing but has not had sufficient training to compete at the high level that Hong Kong demands.

Sharapova announced:
"It's with much disappointment that I have to withdraw from Hong Kong. I've been using this event for the last five years to get match fit and ready for the new season, in fact Hong Kong has been successful in preparing me for the Australian Open.
I am very sorry I won't be competing, and I deeply apologise to my fans and the sponsors that they won't see me there this year.

I'm just not ready to play against the top class competition in Hong Kong, although I remain hopeful for Australia where I'm the defending champion.

Believe me, it's been a very difficult decision, but I only started practicing 16 days ago. I love playing in Hong Kong, and the Organisers attract a world class field."
Max Eisenbud, Maria's agent at IMG commented:
"I know how difficult this decision has been for Maria. Hong Kong is a special event for her, she's been competing there since she was 15 years old and the event staff and team are like family, and there has been no better place to prepare for a Grand Slam. Maria needs to get "tennis fit" now and she's working hard."
Co-Tournament Director in Hong Kong, Mr. Terry Catton said:
"We're hugely disappointed, who wouldn't be, but we've known Maria for over five years and we know what a tough competitor she is. She wouldn't give up her spot in Hong Kong lightly and we are terribly sad for her.

We're particularly disappointed for our sponsors, our fans and all our different partners but we welcome Maria's comments about Hong Kong, we wish her well for the season and look forward to welcoming her back another year. Tennis needs a fit and competitive Maria."
The Tennis Patrons’ Association will replace her with world class Russian, Anna Chakvetadze who is currently the world no. 18.

Anna's presence will continue to make Team Russia a powerful contender for the JB Gold Group crown. Replacing Maria as Team Russia’s Captain will be World No. 7, Vera Zvonareva.

The JB Group Classic is a world team event featuring Europe, Russia, Team Americas and Asia Pacific.

Heading up these teams are World No 1 Jelena Jankovic, Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams and crowd favourite Zheng Jie from China.

Organisers also revealed that they were in discussions with Martina Hingis, former World No. 1 in both Singles and Doubles, to come to the JB Group Classic to compete in the Doubles Event for Team Europe.

A total of 12 players make up a star-studded field.

(Via JB Group Classic, Image via

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