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Sharapova back with Breakers

TENNIS: The world's No. 2-ranked player will play for Newport Beach team at Newport Beach Country Club on July 16.

April 12, 2007|By Steve Virgen

Maybe the Newport Beach Breakers and staff will sing, "She's so pretty," when Maria Sharapova walks through the Newport Beach Country Club this summer.

Regardless if they mimic a Nike commercial or not, they'll assuredly be smiling as Sharapova will join the Breakers for one date: July 16. That's when the world's No. 2-ranked player will be with the Breakers when they go up against the Kansas City Explorers, it was announced Wednesday.

Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004, played for the Breakers 2003-05.

"We are proud to welcome Maria Sharapova back with the Breakers and we are happy to provide our Southern California tennis fans with the opportunity to support one of the preeminent players in women's tennis," Jeff Purser, the Breakers' executive director, said in a press release.

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Sharapova, who turns 20 on April 19, highlights the list of prominent players who will be playing at the Breakers' new tennis stadium at Newport Beach Country Club this summer. Pete Sampras, the all-time leader in men's Grand Slam titles returns to the Breakers. On July 10, he'll be at the NBCC, as will other World TeamTennis players including, Anna Kournikova (July 6), Venus Williams (July 22) and that guy who says, "Wow!" at the end of the Sharapova-Nike commercial: John McEnroe (July 25).

Sharapova has done plenty to make people say, "Wow!" since her breakthrough in 2004. She won the 2006 U.S. Open and has won 15 singles tiles. She became the top-ranked female in the world in 2005 and has more than $9 million in career earnings. She won five titles in 2006.

She'll try to help the Breakers win the WTT championship, as she did in 2004. Last year, Newport Beach was the runner-up.

Recently, Sharapova lost to Serena Williams, 1-6, 1-6, in the Sony Ericsson Open. Sharapova defeated Williams to win the '04 Wimbledon. Sharapova was the lowest seed and second-youngest ladies Wimbledon champion in the Open Era and the third-youngest of all time.

World Team Tennis also announced Wednesday that Williams signed with the St. Louis Aces.

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