Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane International on Tuesday, smartly keeping herself rested before the Australian Open.
The No. 2 player in the world told the media that she had a collarbone injury that has slowed her training prior to the tournament (via ESPN):
I had a bit of inflammation in my collarbone, and I sent (scan results) to a doctor in New York and he told me I couldn't really do much overhead training for about a week. So to be fair, I haven't really given myself a chance to pretty much hit any serves or anything over my head ... So I just kind of ran out of time here.
When she started to practice for her opening match, she felt enough pain to pull out of the tournament.
Although it would be nice to add another tournament win to her resume as she tries to get a good start to 2013, it is not worth the risk of re-injury to tough it out.
She missed plenty of time in 2009 due to shoulder injuries, and no one wants to see another extended absence when it could be avoided.
However, she can use this time to rest up before the Australian Open that begins on Jan. 14.
Sharapova earned the career Grand Slam last year with a victory at the French Open, but it has been five years since she was able to win a major tournament on a hard court. If she wants to become No. 1 in the world rankings, she needs to be more consistent on all surfaces.
One way to do that is to make sure she is completely healthy when entering these tournaments.
Last season, the Russian had one of her best performances at the Australian Open when she finished as a runner-up to Victoria Azarenka. One reason for this success was that she also missed the Brisbane International.
Hopefully, the extra time off will once again allow her to have success at the much bigger tournament. Maybe this time she can even improve upon that second-place finish.