Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Brisbane International tournament this week due to an injury to her right collarbone, but has said that the injury will not derail her chances at the upcoming 2013 Australian Open later this month.
The Russian sensation withdrew from the tournament in Australia—citing the same injury that kept her out of a tournament last week in Korea.
She will now head early to Melbourne to begin preparations for the opening Grand Slam of the year and was quick to say that the current injury will not affect her chances at success in 2013—having no doubt that she would be fully fit by the opening round.
I still have quite a bit of time to prepare for Australia.
I'm on the right track, been training really well, so I just don't want to jeopardise what I've gained in the off-season so far.
I have my own fair share of experience and know that it's much more important to be healthy to go into a big tournament like the Australian Open than go to into something big with a lot of matches and feel like you're not prepared health-wise.
I just have to make a smart move here.
It's much more important for me to be healthy and to be ready than to try to go out and play a few matches [and make matters worse].
Sharapova is no beginner when it comes to having a less-than-ideal preparation for the opening Grand Slam title of the year, having a rushed preparation last year. Yet the fact that she made the final in 2012 despite a hasty preparation will no doubt do wonders for her confidence and self-belief that she can be a competitive force once more.
The 25-year-old has made the final of the Australian Open three times before—winning the title in 2008 over Serbian Ana Ivanovic in straight sets.
Organizers at the Open will be fearing the withdrawal of another high-profile star after the shock announcement by former champion Rafael Nadal that he will not be taking part in the tournament this year.
There is no doubt that Sharapova is a force to be reckoned with every time she takes the court at Melbourne. If she can return to full fitness, she must be considered a threat in 2013—even if she isn't at her 100 percent best come the opening week.
"It's very important for me to go into something like the Australian Open believing and knowing that I'm healthy, that I'm confident," said Sharapova earlier this week.
Hopefully, come January 14, she will be.
Will Maria Sharapova challenge for the Open crown this year?
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