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Sharapova set for doubles return

Maria Sharapova
The problem caused Sharapova to miss the Australian Open

Former world number one Maria Sharapova will only play doubles when she returns to action in Indian Wells next week.

The 21-year-old Russian has been sidelined since last August with a serious shoulder injury that has hampered her for the past two years.

She has already pulled out of planned comebacks in Paris and Dubai this year.

"The healing process takes time and requires things to move more slowly than I would like, but I am taking things one step at a time," she said.

The former world number one has seen her ranking plummet to 23 during an absence that has caused her to miss the 2008 US Open, the Beijing Olympics and last month's Australian Open.

It is the first time she has been outside the world's top 10 since her victory at Wimbledon in 2004.

"I am excited to be playing competitive tennis again," Sharapova told her website ahead of linking up with compatriot Elena Vesnina in California.

It will be the first time in four years that Sharapova has played a doubles event.

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see also
Injured Sharapova to miss Miami
22 Mar 08 |  Tennis

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