Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from this month’s Qatar Open due to a persistent arm injury. It is the second time that Sharapova has pulled out of a tournament this season because of the same injury. The five-times grand slam champion has been troubled by her left forearm since the start of the year when she pulled out of an Australian Open warm-up tournament in Brisbane.
The former world number one tennis star was also unable to play for Russia in last week’s Fed Cup quarter-final defeat by the Netherlands. Last week, Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev warned Sharapova that she must play in the tie if she wants to compete in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year.
Sharapova has won in Qatar twice, in 2005 and 2008. She was a semi-finalist in her last appearance in 2013.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to play the Qatar Total Open because of my left forearm injury,” Sharapova said.
“I would like to wish the tournament and all the great fans in Doha a great week of tennis. I hope to see them next year.”
Maria Sharapova has not played since her quarterfinal defeat to Serena Williams at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Williams, the world No. 1, withstood a challenge from Sharapova in a 55-minute first set and then blew the match open, winning 6-4, 6-1 to book her place in the Australian Open semifinals.
Serena Williams’ rivalry with Maria Sharapova was the center of attention after the Williams defeated the Russian star again at the Australian Open. Williams, 34, hasn’t lost to Sharapova in 12 years. Sharapova, long known as tennis’ great and tenacious fighter, hasn’t presented a third set challenge for seven consecutive matches against Williams.
The Qatar Open will be played between February 21 and 27 this year.