Sharapova ready for Rogers Cup

JESSICA LAPINSKI-DEJARDIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:53 PM ET

MONTREAL Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will be back in Montreal for the Rogers Cup next month, the place where she began her downward spiral in August 2008.

Suffering from shoulder pain, the former world champion was forced to withdraw from the tournament after her second-round victory over Polands Marta Domachowska. A series of MRI scans showed two torn tendons. The 23-year-old abandoned the rest of her season as well as missing the first months of 2009.

Since then, she has struggled to regain her form.

But Sharapova believes she has found her groove.

I had a good season last year, she said Friday during a conference call. Im not No. 1 in the world anymore, but I still had a few good results.

Sharapova made it to the Toronto final in 2009, losing to fellow Russian Elena Dementieva. Otherwise, the famous Russian hasnt seen a lot of success at the Rogers Cup; she was eliminated in the 16th round during both of her two Montreal appearances.

Following the example of other star players in the WTA, Sharapova also has missed the Montreal tournament several times because of various injuries. This time around, however, she says she feels good.

My shoulder is okay, she said.

After her Wimbledon defeat in the round of 16 this year at the hands of American Serena Williams, Sharapova visited children living in the areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl tragedy.

The trip was organized by the United Nations and had a deep impact in Russia.Sharapova's family is from Gomel, one of the first cities to be contaminated by the radioactive gases that spread following the explosion at the nuclear reactor.

My goal was to take the children outside, she said of her work as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. I wanted to show them they could live active lives. I loved seeing their smiles.

The Maria Sharapova Foundation, a partnership with the UN, is working on seven projects involving youth.


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