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Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova is hoping to live up to fan expectations at the 2019 Mallorca Open, following right-shoulder surgery she underwent in February.
In a press conference on Sunday, the 32-year-old Russian praised Spanish star Rafael Nadal's ability to recover from his knee injury and lift his record-extending 12th French Open title last week, reports Efe news.
She said that she commended Nadal for battling through his injuries, calling him the ultimate fighter.
The five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova will start her Mallorca Open run Tuesday after she accepted a wildcard.
Sharapova, who has not played since the St. Petersburg tournament in January, could square off against two former world number ones; German Angelique Kerber of Germany and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.
"Mallorca Open is a great place to train because the weather conditions are better than England to practice," she explained.
Now-ranked 86th in the world, Sharapova confirmed she would play at this year's Wimbledon after she withdrew from the French Open to fully recover from her shoulder injury.
Sharapova believes she had improved after her daily workouts at the Santa Ponsa Tennis Club, saying she would not play more than two tournaments this year.
"I do not feel pressure positioning myself in my comeback, I know that there are also some young talented players in the top and there is a good opportunity for them to write new stories," she explained.
"When you are on the court always try to show your best and I know that there are lots of expectations from me but I am feeling more optimistic than some months ago," Sharapova concluded.