Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the 2013 U.S. Open due to a right shoulder injury.
Tennis (@usopen) August 22, 2013
Slated to be the No. 3 seed in the women's draw (Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland now takes her spot at third), Sharapova released a statement on her official site:
I just wanted to let you know that withdrawing from the US Open has been a really tough decision to make. I have done everything I could since Wimbledon to get myself ready, but it just wasn't enough time. I have done many tests, received several opinions and it all comes down to taking the proper amount of time to heal my shoulder injury properly. It's certainly not an easy decision to make ahead of one of my favorite tournaments, but I know it's the right one that will get me back on the courts soon. I plan on taking the next few weeks off, receiving proper treatment and rehabilitation. I will miss being part of the US Open, but can't wait for next year!
The Russian star has now failed to register a win in the last six Grand Slam events, reaching the final of just one of those majors (2013 French Open).
But the 26-year-old can't be worried about her overall legacy at the moment. She must first get healthy and then figure out how to turn things around to finish 2013 on a high note and take some momentum with her into next season.
It's safe to say that the former world No. 1 has had a rocky year. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open before being blasted by Li Na. Four months later, she made a run to the final of the French Open, only to wind up losing in straight sets to Serena Williams.
Two weeks after that, she was bounced from Wimbledon, losing in the second round at All England Club for the first time since 2009.
Sandwiched in between that loss and this latest news of her withdrawal from the U.S. Open was an early-round exit at the hands of Sloane Stephens at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, leading to her dismissal of coach Jimmy Connors, who had been with her for just one match.
Going forward, Sharapova will have to right the ship on the hard courts. The good news is that, if healthy, she'll have plenty of opportunities to do so in places like Tokyo, Beijing and Istanbul.
Regardless of which tournaments she decides to play in, her recent failures will likely allow her to fly under the radar with tapered expectations on the tour.
If there's a tournament where Sharapova can be counted on to break through, it's the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she is a two-time champion. Sharapova has also had success in China. She finished as runner-up at the WTA Tour China Open in Beijing last year, making her first ever appearance in the tournament final.
So, don't be surprised if she starts her turnaround in Asia in the fall.
The year hasn't been a total waste for Sharapova by any means. After all, she's earned titles in Indian Wells and Stuttgart. But as one of the top female tennis players in the world, we've come to expect Grand Slam victories from Sharapova, and in that regard her 2013 campaign overall has been a disappointment.