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Sharapova's Brisbane withdrawal a 'precaution' ahead of Australian Open

Last updated on: January 05, 2016 12:17 IST

Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during a match

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during a match. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Multiple grand slam champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane International on Tuesday after suffering an arm injury in practise less than two weeks before the Australian Open.

"I hurt my forearm in practice a couple days ago and need to precautionary withdraw with the #AusOpen starting," the Russian was quoted as saying by Brisbane tournament organisers.

"#BrisbaneTennis is such a special event especially being defending champion. I look forward to seeing all my fans next year."

Sharapova, the world number four, had been due to face compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in first round action later on Tuesday but will be replaced by lucky loser Margarita Gasparyan.

The Russian has long been dogged by injuries and missed last year's U.S. Open with a leg muscle injury and then suffered an arm injury on her return in China in October.

The 28-year-old five-times grand slam singles champion will rest up before she aims for her second Australian Open title when the year's first major gets underway in Melbourne on Jan 18.

Meanwhile, Romanian top seed Simona Halep was felled by inflammation in her left Achilles, an injury that hampered her 2015 campaign, but was hopeful of being fit in time for next week's event in Sydney.

Halep, the world number two, was scheduled to face twice Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in second round action after receiving a bye and she downplayed concerns about the injury being anything serious.

"I did an MRI and it's nothing dangerous, but it's still an inflammation," said Halep who was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium.

"I have just to take a few days' rest."

The injuries to Halep and 28-year-old Sharapova, five-times a grand slam singles champion, follow fitness concerns over Australian Open defending champion Serena Williams, who pulled out of her first match of the year at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Monday because of a knee complaint.

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