Sharapova pulls out of Rome meet to boost French Open chances

Rome, May 17 (IANS/RIA Novosti) World No. 2 Maria Sharapova admitted Friday that the upcoming French Open played a part in her decision to pull out of the Rome Masters.

Sharapova withdrew citing illness Friday, hours before she was due to play world No. 6 Sara Errani in the Rome quarterfinals.

“I usually don’t withdraw from tournament and all the competitions I play in mean a lot to me, but in the run-up to the French Open you have to take the right decisions,” she told R-Sport.

The main draw play at Roland Garros starts May 26, and Sharapova said she would spend two days resting before flying to Paris and starting training to defend her title.

A packed match schedule has taken its toll on Sharapova’s health, the Russian said.

“I’ve played a lot of matches in the last few weeks, first Stuttgart then Madrid, ten matches in a row on clay,” she said.

“I knew I’d be playing while tired in Rome, and in Madrid I got ill with the same thing and went out on court like that.”

“That’s why I think the illness returned. Last night I felt very bad. I simply couldn’t go out on court today in this condition.”

Withdrawal in Rome ends Sharapova’s run of reaching the semifinals of every tournament she has played in this season.

She won the Indian Wells tournament in March and the Stuttgart clay tournament last month, and lost to Serena Williams in the finals of Miami in March and Madrid last week.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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