Moscow: World No 2 Maria Sharapova will spearhead Russia in their Fed Cup World Group semi-final against Germany at Sochi on April 18-19, team captain Anastasia Myskina announced yesterday.
The five-time Grand Slam title winner must compete in the women's team event if she wants to bid for gold at the Rio Olympics next year.
The 27-year-old Sharapova made a rare but decisive Fed Cup appearance in February helping Russia to beat Poland in the opening round at Krakow.
It was just her fourth Fed Cup appearance since her 2008 debut. Four-time champions Russia are trying to shrug off the bitter memories of a disappointing 2014 season, when they lost 4-0 to Australia in their opening round clash.