The president of the Russian Tennis Federation has warned Maria Sharapova that she must play for the country’s Fed Cup team if she wants to be included in their team for this year’s Olympic Games.
Following her straight sets defeat to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Tuesday, Sharapova said that she is unlikely to play in Russia’s Fed Cup opener against the Netherlands on February 6 and 7.
“If Sharapova wants to compete at the Olympics she has to play for Russia in the Fed Cup,” Russian tennis boss Shamil Tarpishchev is quoted as saying by R-Sport.
“That’s the rule and she needs either to play against Netherlands or in Russia’s next Fed Cup match if we manage to go through.”
Following her 6-4, 6-1 defeat to Williams in Melbourne, the 28-year-old complained of a niggling forearm injury, which she plans on resting for the next couple of weeks.
“I’m going to go and take care of my forearm first. I think that’s really important,” Sharapova said.
“I’m going to go to Moscow, be part of the team. I don’t think I’ll be playing. Then I’m not sure.”
Tarpishchevis, however, has called on her to reconsider her decision.
“If she withdraws from playing with Netherlands and we lose the match she will not play at the Olympics,” Tarpishchev said.
“Probably Sharapova has issued her statement too rashly. I think she and her managers should consider their decision once again.”
Russia’s team captain Anastasia Myskina had previously said that Sharapova, the country’s top-ranked player, would play alongside Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ekaterina Makarova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
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