Fed Cup should change dates, says Maria Sharapova

Defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova called for a change in schedule for the Fed Cup on Wednesday, saying playing ties after grand slam tournaments was "pointless".

Fed Cup should change dates, says Maria Sharapova

Paris: Defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova called for a change in schedule for the Fed Cup on Wednesday, saying playing ties after grand slam tournaments was "pointless".

The Russian showed no ill-effects from a cold as she swept past fellow Russian Fed Cup team member Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier to reach the third round.

She will face tough Australian Samantha Stosur next and the world number two said the next day and a half would all be about maintenance and recovery as she tries to plot her way to a third French Open title in four years.

Sharapova skipped Russia`s Fed Cup semi-final against Germany last month -- a decision that proved wise as she enjoyed a strong run in Madrid where she reached the semi-finals and in Rome where she claimed the title.

She is committed to the Fed Cup team, however, and played in the quarter-final against Poland shortly after reaching the Australian Open final.

The 28-year-old said it can be a hassle though.

"It`s more the timing of the events that are just really unfortunate," she told reporters. "I have been very vocal about it. I don`t think anyone`s that`s making the Fed Cup schedule is thinking about the players that go far in grand slams.

"They don`t understand or appreciate how much mental and physical strength it takes to get to that.

"To schedule a Fed Cup match right after a grand slam; it`s just pointless, in my opinion.

"I had an amazing time playing this year, and I want to play in the future, but the schedule just does not give me any chance to do so. As much as I want to be part of it, it`s just -- it`s really a hassle."

She even suggested the Fed Cup should not be held every year. "I think it would be much more successful if it actually had a legitimate schedule and maybe not every single year."

There was only a scattering of fans inside the stadium as Sharapova took to the court on Wednesday, but after getting into her stride she overpowered the 91st-ranked Diatchenko.

Stosur will be a tougher proposition though -- having stretched Sharapova to three sets in the fourth round last year.

"She`s always a tough opponent. She enjoys playing on clay, benefits a lot from this surface," she said of the 2010 runner-up. "But I have a pretty good record against her."

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