Sharapova not worried about Australian Open preparation


Maria Sharapova is not concerned by the lack of competitive tennis in the build up to next week's Australian Open.

World number five Sharapova pulled out of the Brisbane International with an arm injury last week.

As a result, Sharapova has not played a single competitive match in the lead up to Australian Open, which gets underway on Monday.

But Sharapova said: "I feel really good. I got to Melbourne earlier than I wanted to, but it gave me a chance to practice here this week.

"I've had great days on a lot of the courts."

Sharapova said past experience meant it was easy for her to make such calls as she did to withdraw from Brisbane.

"[Withdrawing] always is a really tough decision. When you come to a tournament like Brisbane, where you're defending champion," Sharapova said.

"You find yourself in a tricky situation of, 'can I go out there, should I go out there? I have a pretty big event in 10 or 14 days'.

"I think experience helps in those moments. It's always very difficult because I'm someone that always sticks to the schedule that I make.

"But I think I've been fortunate in my career to have won grand slams and to kind of have a bigger picture of my goals.

"Sometimes I try not to focus on so many tournaments, not focus on rankings, and focus on being healthy, which is really, really important at a high professional sport."

Sharapova takes on Japan's Nao Hibino in the first round.