Maria Sharapova says she would have liked to have been match fit ahead of Australian Open
Maria Sharapova says she would have liked to have prepared better ahead of her Australian Open first round match.
Last Updated: 14/01/13 6:52am
The former Melbourne winner, and last year's runner-up, goes into the season's opening major without any competitive games under her belt after a collarbone problem ruled her out of the Brisbane International.
Sharapova, who claimed she was now fully recovered, admitted she would have to play her way into the season against fellow blonde Russian Puchkova, ranked 105.
"I would have loved to come in with a few matches. But sometimes circumstances don't allow that, and that's okay," she said. "To me, I'd rather be going onto the court knowing that I'm healthy.
"Yes, I might be a little bit rusty, but I'll work my way through it. I'm experienced enough to know the adjustments I have to make in those types of circumstances."
World number two Sharapova, 25, won in Melbourne in 2008 but then suffered a long spell on the sidelines with shoulder problems before climbing back to the top of women's tennis and completing a career Grand Slam at last year's French Open.
"Certainly I was playing some of my best tennis in my career. Little did I know six months later I would not be playing tennis at all," she said of 2008.
"It's certainly nice to look back at those memories, nice to be able to sit here. I think this is, what, my ninth or 10th year playing the Australian Open.
"It's nice to be still here in the middle of my career and go out on a court and compete in front of thousands of people."