The Russian tennis federation has announced that world No. 5 tennis player Maria Sharapova will make her debut in the Fed Cup women's team tennis competition next month in Israel.
Sharapova will lead a team comprised of sixth-ranked Anna Chakvetadze, Dinara Safina and Elena Vesnina when Russia plays Israel February 2nd and 3rd in a World Group quarterfinal series in Ramat Hasharon.
The underdog Israeli squad consists of Shahar Peer, Tzipora Obziler, Keren Shlomo and Julia Glushko. Peer is Israel's highest ranked player at No. 17.
Sharapova says she is excited about representing Russia in the Fed Cup, which makes her eligible to compete at the Olympics this August in Beijing. Her debut with the team has been delayed several times by injuries.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.