Sharapova loses in return after absence

Updated: March 12, 2009, 11:28 PM ET
Reuters

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova marked her return to tennis after seven months out with injury with a doubles match at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.

The Russian teamed up with compatriot Elena Vesnina in a 6-1, 4-6, 10-7 loss to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and Belarussian Tatiana Poutchek in the first round.

Sharapova said she was just glad to be back.

"It feels pretty good, it's pretty amazing," the 24-year-old said. "I came here and just wanted to test it out. I started training a couple of months ago and I thought I'd test it out in a match situation and play in front of a crowd, and it was exciting."

Sharapova is not taking part in the singles competition at Indian Wells and though she said her shoulder felt good she warned it might be some time before she returns full-time.

"I think the hump I've got to get through right now is to put two weeks of playing two, three sets every single day, for two weeks and feeling great, 100 percent," she added. "Right now I am able to do maybe three days, four days and then I have to take it easy on the fifth.

"Obviously that's not the way to go about a tournament in singles, so that's what I am working up to right now and whenever that comes, that's when I'll be playing singles," she said.

Sharapova missed last year's Beijing Olympics and U.S. Open and was unable to defend her Australian Open crown in January because of the injury.

"The most frustrating part of this process is that I have a good week of practice and then push it a bit more because you're feeling good and then you find that you're not quite ready for that yet," she said.

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