In the middle of our worries about why Maria Sharapova hasn’t landed on a plane to Australia yet, the withdrawal of the reigning Australian Open champion from this year’s event hits the news.
The 21-year-old Sharapova still hasn’t completely overcome her shoulder injury troubles, which prevented her from playing competitive tennis since August.
"I am very sorry to announce that I am not going to be able to defend my title at this year's Australian Open," the Russian said in a statement.
"My shoulder is doing great but I just started training a few weeks ago and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels."
The world No.9 Sharapova didn't play the recently-finished JB Group Classic exhibition event citing the same reasons.
Thank you Pat for being the first to tell me about this piece of news. Oh, the 2009 season hasn't started well. Sharapova will not be there to defend her title, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic are both sick, what's next? (source: Reuters, image: Tennis Photos)