Tokyo: Tennis star and world number two Maria Sharapova said on Monday that her compatriot Anna Chakvetadze's decision to run for the Russian parliament would make it "tough" on her career in the sport.
"I think it obviously takes a lot of time, so it's tough to do two things, two pretty big things at the same time," Sharapova told reporters after clearing the second round in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
"But if she feels strong about it, obviously it's a personal choice," Sharapova said, adding she was "not really sure" whether Chakvetadze, world number five in 2007, was still going to play, or commit herself to politics.
Russian media reported that the 24-year-old Chakvetadze had been named as one of the three parliamentary candidates put forward by Russia's Right Cause Party, a pro-business party with limited public support.
Chakvetadze was forced to retire from her third WTA tournament in a row in Stuttgart due to a mystery illness in April and she also withdrew from Madrid, Rome, Brussels and Roland Garros in May.
Her withdrawals continued at Copenhagen in June, Budapest, Bad Gastein, College Park and Carlsbad in July, and the US Open and Tashkent in September.