World number two Maria Sharapova has suffered a blow to her Australian Open title hopes after having to withdraw from the Brisbane International with a collarbone injury.
While Sharapova is reportedly still set to line up at Melbourne Park when the year's first grand slam gets under way in less than a fortnight, the 2008 Open champion has hit a roadblock, as she withdrew from the WTA event in Queensland. The four-time major winner will travel to Melbourne early now, as she bids to be fit for the first round.
Brisbane tournament director Cameron Pearson said: "We hope that she can recover sufficiently from the injury to take the court for the Australian Open and wish her all the best for the summer."
He added: "We feel for Maria because we saw first-hand how badly she wanted to play for the people of Brisbane.
"She has been fantastic since she got here and worked hard in the gym, on court and in the medical room to do everything she could to get herself right. Unfortunately she didn't make it."
Sharapova had previously withdrawn from an exhibition in South Korea last week.