Former world number one and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Stuttgart Open as she looks to recover from her shoulder injury.
Speculation was rife that the Russian would be back for the WTA Stuttgart that begins from next week but Sharapova has announced she is yet to regain full fitness to compete at the highest level.
Sharapova had a small surgery on her injured shoulder, an issue that had earlier meant she had had to withdraw from both, Indian Wells and the Miami Open, and it would take her some more time to recover from it. And in a statement, Sharapova announced her return to tennis would be delayed even more.
“To all my amazing fans in Germany that travel to see me play my favourite tournament in Stuttgart every year, I am really sorry to inform you that I have just ran out of time to be ready to play in Stuttgart.”
“I am making very good progress but just not ready to compete at the highest level.”
Incidentally, this comes at a time when Elina Svitolina, Danielle Collins, Sloane Stephens and Dominika Cibulkova have all withdrawn from the Stuttgart Open this year and this latest Sharapova decision will come as a huge blow for the organisers.
That said, some of the top players in the world including the world number one Naomi Osaka will participate in this year’s Stuttgart Open. Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber are some of the others who will take part.
Sharapova will now look to make a comeback at the Madrid Open that will begin on May 5.