PARIS – Maria Sharapova is making the London Olympics one of her top priorities this year after missing the Beijing Games with an injury.
The third-ranked Russian has won three Grand Slam titles but has never competed at the Olympics.
"Representing my country there will be a huge honor for me," Sharapova said. "I'm really looking forward to the grass season. Wimbledon is a big goal every single year. And obviously, two weeks later coming into the Olympics, which I've never been a part of in my career — something that I've wanted to do and be a part of since I was a young kid. In Russia, as an athlete, that was the biggest dream, the biggest goal."
Sharapova missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of a shoulder injury.
Despite losing 6-3, 6-0 to Victoria Azarenka last month in a lopsided Grand Slam final, Sharapova hopes her Australian Open campaign can still be a springboard for winning another major title this year.
"I didn't play competitively for a few months, and coming in with an injury in the ankle, to have that result in Australia was personally quite big," Sharapova said.
Sharapova hurt her left ankle in September at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo. The injury forced her to withdraw from the China Open and later the WTA Championships in Istanbul after two losses.
"Getting to the final is a step forward toward where I want to get," Sharapova said. "Obviously, you want to be the one holding the trophy, but it doesn't always work out that way.
"A little luck at times and eventually belief, and it happens. It doesn't come at once, it takes a lot of time and development. As far as this year, I still have many opportunities to hopefully achieve that."
She is competing in the Open GDF Suez for the first time this week.