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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 23:02 GMT
Sharapova delays debut for Russia
Maria Sharapova
Sharapova is preparing for the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells
Maria Sharapova will not make her Fed Cup debut for Russia when they launch the defence of their title against Belgium in April.

The Florida-based 19-year-old has repeatedly denied she does not want to represent her native country.

"It's quite untrue that I don't want to play for Russia," she said. "I have a Russian heart."

Sharapova does not want to follow hard-court events in Indian Wells and Miami with clay in Belgium.

"My body is just not ready after two tough tournaments to go and play Fed Cup," said Sharapova.

"It's my own personal decision, and I'm not going to be influenced by what anyone else does.

"I won't be forced into it. My body just isn't ready to go from hard courts to clay courts that quickly."

Anastasia Myskina has also pulled out of the tie.

"It's too much for me," she said. "This year I want to play for myself. I've played every time they asked me to play again, but it's been too much now."


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