Sports Break ~ Tennis Balls & Golf Balls

Maria Sharapova is confident she will be able to play through the pain barrier at the Australian Open. The fourth seed, who has suffered months of pain and misdiagnoses, has been told she has a dislocated rib, not a pectoral muscle problem. The Russian said: "It's not 100% - I wouldn't say it's at the top level, but at least I know the cause. "The doctors have told me it can't get any worse. I'm going to have to suck it up and do the best I can." (BBC Sport)

Yaaay, Australian Open is back again! That means tennis season is officially open. Brilliant. I'd a kicking time following the top tier matches last year, I actually listened to the internet radio live from Melbourne. The most gripping was listening Maria battle it out match in match out. Speaking of which, Maria been hit with injury after injury towards end of last year, not good.

I can only hope she'll do well in this year's tourney. On the other hand, she still has lots of time to catch up and will need experience rather than pure strength to power her way to the top. Another great reason to follow Australian Open is the return of the Swiss Miss! Yes! Martina Hingis is back to play. I love tennis because of her. I'm glad she decided to make a competitive return after sorting out her injury.

I don't think Martina will be a big factor in this Open. For 2006, will be a year of playing and learning time for her. The thing I love about Martina is that, she had class and grace playing tennis compare to the now power plays and super fast serves, its like extreme tennis on steriods. The new game will be tough on her but she is still at a competitive age and I think she can do it, just don't expect grand slam wins this year. On the other hand, Martina had achieved all there is and she was on top, so, not much pressure there. Good Luck Martina!

Teenager Michelle Wie's aim of becoming the first woman in 61 years to make the cut in a PGA Tour event took a huge blow as she shot a 79 at the Sony Open. Playing in gusty conditions, the 16-year-old reached the turn in Hawaii in a dismal seven-over 42. Three more bogeys on her way back in left her nine over and with little chance of qualifying for the weekend. (BBC Sport)

I've said it before, Wie have got the goods to make it. However, I think there are factors that is working against her. Base on her track record so far, not good. I think the media hype is not benefiting her, that is unwanted pressure. Some in the PGA circle is quite miffed with Wie for taking her game to the men. Call it gender forbia but I feel if the player have the right skills to play, so be it, guys or girls. Another is the LPGA circle, Wie is making them look stupid.

I personally think Wie have the skills but it takes time to get them on par and running. I'm not sure it was wise to turn pro AND play PGA so soon. Wie should spend time in the LPGA, get the feel of playing top tier pro competitions then perhaps some appearance in the PGA after a year or two. Take it easy, afterall, she is only 18 years of age, what's the rush. Build the confidence, build the goodwill and I bet she can make history. I hope she'll recover soon. Cheers!