Tennis: Sharapova to miss Fed Cup clash with Germany

MOSCOW (AFP) - World No. 2 Maria Sharapova will miss Russia's Fed Cup semi-final with Germany this weekend in Sochi because of a leg injury, the Russian tennis federation announced on Tuesday.

"I was looking forward to my return to Sochi to play in the Fed Cup," the federation press service quoted Sharapova as saying.

"It could be my life's first ever experience - to play in the city where I grew up.

"And I've changed my personal schedule in order to play for my country in the semi-final."

Five-time Grand Slam title winner said the injury, which she has suffered at the WTA tournament at Miami, prevented her from practicing in recent days.

"I need to be in my top form to help my team, to perform at my best in the Fed Cup semi-final against such a strong opponent.

"Unfortunately, I was too short of time to recover completely."

Russian team skipper Anastasia Myskina confirmed that Sharapova had dropped out through injury and named Vera Zvonareva, 137th in the WTA rankings as a replacement for 2012 Olympic silver medallist.

"We were in contact with Maria (Sharapova) and her team. I know that she did her best to recover after an injury to play at Sochi," Myskina said.

"But currently she's not ready to play.

"Nevertheless I believe in our team. And I'm looking forward to the upcoming semi-final."

Before the 27-year-old Sharapova's withdrawal Russia looked favourites to win the semi-final as she has been joined by 25th-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (38th), and Elena Vesnina (71st).