Tennis-Fatigued Sharapova considers time away from the court

INDIAN WELLS, California, March 21 Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:38am GMT

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INDIAN WELLS, California, March 21 (Reuters) - A jaded Maria Sharapova said she might take another break from the game after being beaten 6-3 5-7 6-2 by fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semi-finals of the Pacific Life Open on Friday.

The Australian Open champion took a brief holiday earlier this month after realising she had clocked just under 50,000 miles since the start of the year and jested she might skip next week's Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

"I'm playing a lot of tennis, been flying a lot," the 20-year-old told reporters after her winning streak of 18 matches this season was ended by Kuznetsova.

"It's pretty much been non-stop with all the tournaments I've been playing, and Fed Cup as well. It takes a toll on your body and your mind as well.

"You feel like you have to go out on the court and spend a lot of emotion and energy out there, and sometimes you just don't have it for every match."

Sharapova jetted into Israel for the Fed Cup immediately after her Australian Open triumph in January. After a short break, she travelled to Doha where she won her 18th WTA title before having to withdraw from Dubai three weeks ago because of a viral illness.

Asked when she was planning to take time off, the Russian world number five replied with a smile: "I don't know, maybe next week.

"I'm going to play it by ear. My body is kind of hurting a little bit. I just want to be smart about the decisions I make and that's going to be made after a good night's rest.

"At this point of the year, I can't really be putting any pressure on myself by saying: "You got to go out there and play next week. "If I'm not going to be ready, I'm not going to be ready. No one's forcing me to go out there and play.

"This year is so young and I still have so many big tournaments ahead of me and so many goals that I want to achieve," added Sharapova, a winner of three grand slam titles.

"As a 20-year-old, I've got to kind of stand up and make some mature decisions that will help me throughout my career, you know. (Editing by Martin Petty)

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