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04th-Jan-2015

Maria Sharapova gunning for success in 2015 but not aiming for the No. 1 rank

By Agency

Maria Sharapova has arrived in Brisbane for the 2015 Brisbane International. With the World No. 1 rank just a notch higher, Sharapova has revealed that the top spot in women's tennis is not her main goal for the 2015 season.Speaking with the reporters after arriving in Brisbane, Sharapova said that she was more interested in playing her best tennis than claiming the World No. 1 rank. "I just want to focus on matches and competing well and being the best player out there," the Russian tennis darling said via The Australian. The last time that Sharapova has claimed the top spot in women's tennis' world rankings was on June 11, 2012. She held the position for four consecutive weeks. All in all, Sharapova has spent a total of 21 weeks as World No. 1.According to Sharapova, who ended her 2014 season strongly as World No. 2, she will be gunning for success right from the start of the season. She added that she was happy to be back in Brisbane, after losing to top-ranked and rival Serena Williams in the semifinal match last year.Williams will not be playing in Brisbane because she opted to play for the Hopman Cup team exhibition game instead. With Williams out, Sharapova will be the top contender for the 2015 Brisbane International title.Meanwhile, Sharapova has started hitting balls with coach Sven Groeneveld at the Pat Rafter Arena. Jimmie, 48, who is a photographer for Women's Tennis Blog, has captured exclusive snaps of Sharapova's training session in Brisbane and shared them on his Twitteraccount and official site.The main draw for the Brisbane tournament will happen on Jan. 4. Sharapova will battle some of the biggest names in women's tennis including Ana Ivanovic, Sabine Lisicki, Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka, who had been sidelined for most of the 2014 season due to her foot injury. The men's singles event features Association of Tennis Professionals, or ATP, household names such as Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Sharapova's boyfriend Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. The 2015 Brisbane International will close on Jan. 11, 2015.Sharapova finished the 2014 season as World No. 2. She won four titles including her second French Open crown. The French Open tournament wasn't the only clay-court tennis event in 2014 that Sharapova has successfully triumphed. She had an amazing clay court season by bagging the trophies in Stuttgart and Madrid.