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Harriet Dart: ‘Sharapova has always been my idol, it will be cool to play her’

The improving Londoner could give her inspiration a tough test when they meet in the Australian Open first round

For Harriet Dart, who forced a tie-break out of the former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon last year, the prospect of sharing a court with Maria Sharapova in the first round of the Australian Open is not as daunting as some might imagine.

The 22-year-old Londoner, riding at a career-high 132 in the rankings, says of taking on the Russian – one of only five current players with a career grand slam – “I am super excited to play in the main draw. Sharapova has been my idol since I was very little. But I have played the US Open and I have played Wimbledon twice in qualifying, where you have to win three matches against very high-level players.”

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