Maria Sharapova withdraws from Stuttgart, not ready to compete at her best

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Maria Sharapova withdraws from Stuttgart, not ready to compete at her best

The five-time Grand Slam champion and a former world no. 1 Maria Sharapova has played just three tournaments so far in 2019, losing in the quarter-final of Shenzhen and the fourth round of the Australian Open. Maria was forced to withdraw before the second round clash against Daria Kasatkina at St.

Petersburg Ladies Trophy at the end of January due to a right shoulder injury, struggling to play injury-free ever since she came back to competition in 2017 due to a thigh, left arm, forearm and shoulder troubles. Sharapova did her best to overcome the pain and start playing on the competitive level again although she had to withdraw in front of the home fans in Russia and reach her team of doctors to see how serious the injury was.

After seeking different opinions and possibilities, the 31-year-old decided to undergo a small procedure two months ago, announcing the withdrawal from both Indian Wells and Miami. The Russian has hit the practice court again, working hard on her physical strength and hoping to start hitting the ball as soon as possible and make a strong return without the pain that has been bothering her for a while now.

Maria has not set the return date yet and she decided to withdraw from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, receiving a wild card as the three-time former champion. She had won the first 13 matches in Stuttgart in 2012-14, reaching another semi-final in front of the German fans in 2017 after serving that ban.

Maria played well on clay in 2018, advancing into the quarter-final in Madrid, the semi-final in Rome and the quarter-final at Roland Garros, looking to revive at least some of that vibe this spring if she makes a recovery in time for Madrid or Rome.

"To all my amazing fans in Germany that travel to see me playing my favorite tournament in Stuttgart each year, I'm sorry to inform you that I have just run 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."