NEW YORK CITY: Russian world No. 3 Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the US Open because of a right shoulder injury, tournament organizers announced Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
On the eve of the draw for the year’s final Grand Slam event that begins Monday on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts, US Open tournament director David Brewer announced the withdrawal.
“Maria has informed us that she will be unable to compete at the US Open this year due to a right shoulder bursitis and has withdrawn from the tournament,” he said.
“We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to her return to New York next year.”
As a result, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska moves into the third seed in the women’s singles draw and other seeds will move up one place, with Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova advancing into the 32nd spot.
Sharapova’s only match since a second-round defeat at Wimbledon in late June was a loss in her opening match in last week’s WTA event at Cincinnati to American Sloane Stephens.
That was followed by a split with Jimmy Connors, who had been her coach for less than three weeks. Sharapova had been nursing a hip injury after Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, world No. 1 Serena Williams enters the US Open as a heavy favourite to defend her title, but second-ranked Victoria Azarenka leads a host of rivals looking to dethrone her.
Williams is seeking her 17th Grand Slam singles crown and fifth US Open title, which would move her one shy of Chris Evert’s Open-era record for most titles at the year’s final major event on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.
“I’m definitely prepared. I’m definitely ready for New York,” Williams said. “I definitely had more matches than I could want, but I’m definitely prepared for the US Open.”
The 31-year-old American has been on an amazing run over the past 14 months, going 77-4 and capturing last year’s Wimbledon, London Olympic and US Open titles, plus this year’s French Open crown.
But two of those defeats came at the hands of Azarenka, in last February’s Doha final and last Sunday at the WTA final in Cincinnati by a score of 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6).
It was only the third victory for the 24-year-old from Belarus over Williams but with the two having won seven of the past nine Grand Slam titles, it sets the stage for a potential rematch of last year’s US Open final.
Williams will go into the Open without a win streak such as she had the past few Grand Slam events.