Monday, January 12, 2009

Maria Sharapova Pulls Out Of Australian Open

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Maria SharapovaDefending champion Russia's Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to her slower than expected recovery following a shoulder injury.

Sharapova advised tournament officials on Sunday that she would not be able to defend her title at Melbourne Park beginning Jan. 19.

"I am very sorry to announce that I am not going to be able to defend my title at this year's Australian Open," Sharapova said in a statement. "My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels."

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he was disappointed for Sharapova, who beat Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the 2008 final.

She also missed the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. Open because of the injury.

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