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Fit Sharapova raring to go

MARIA Sharapova declared her surgically repaired right shoulder fully healed and that she was ready to return to the court for the first time since a disappointing performance at Wimbledon.

"I am a hundred percent," Sharapova said on Wednesday before making an appearance for the Newport Beach Breakers in their World Team Tennis match against Kansas City.

"I mean, if I wasn't at that point, I certainly wouldn't be playing. That's why I took my time and gave myself a chance to really go out there and to feel like I didn't have any excuses."

Sharapova played in three matches for the Breakers, winning all three. She teamed with Julie Ditty to take women's doubles 5-2; combined with Kaes Van't Hof to capture mixed doubles 5-2; and defeated Meghann Shaughnessy 5-4 (1) in women's singles.

Sharapova said she has never wavered in believing she would make a full comeback.

"By no means was it easy. Definitely I had ups and downs," she said. "I had days where I had to push myself more than I've ever had to mentally than physically. It all pays off.

"Obviously just getting to be able to play tennis again is an achievement in itself. Now it's about preparing myself, forgetting about what I went through, getting back into the form where I was - and even better."

Most 22 year olds aren't in the comeback business, but she started her career at 14 and already has won three grand slam titles.

"At 22, you consider you've been playing on the Pro Tour that many years, (a comeback's) definitely not a surprise," she said.

"It is a little surprising to see so many girls kind of coming out of the woodwork, and they're so many years younger than you. You're like, 'Where did the time go?'

"But I enjoy every single year of it. As I get older, I become a much wiser person on the court. I learn a lot in life. A learn a lot from my profession, from what I do. I'm definitely not sad that the years are going by."

Sharapova said keeping the shoulder strong will now have to be part of her life.


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