Maria Sharapova Withdraws from 2019 French Open with Shoulder Injury

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2019

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2019, file photo, Maria Sharapova of Russia attends her meeting with her fans at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2019 tennis tournament match in St.Petersburg, Russia. Three-time champion Sharapova has withdrawn from the upcoming Italian Open as she continues to recover from a right shoulder injury. Rome organizers announced Wednesday, May 1 that Sharapova’s spot in the draw for the May 13-19 tournament will be taken by 45th-ranked Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)
Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press

Maria Sharapova won't participate in the 2019 French Open after the 32-year-old announced via Instagram (h/t Reem Abulleil) on Wednesday the need to fully recover from a shoulder injury will keep her out of action:

Although she confirmed she's back in practice, the two-time champion will be a miss in Paris when the event begins on Sunday, May 26. Ongoing problems with her shoulder have kept Sharapova out of several events in this calendar year, including the Paribas Open and Miami Open.

A shoulder injury has been a problem for Sharapova since the summer of 2018. Attempts to remedy the issue haven't always worked, with a "small procedure" costing her a place in Miami back in March.

At that time, Sharapova said the problems began following her elimination from the U.S. Open during the Round of 16. Those difficulties also saw her withdraw from April's Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, before she confirmed she would be unable to compete at this month's Italian Open in Rome.

It makes sense for Sharapova to take her time putting this troublesome injury fully behind her. Attempts to play through the pain haven't gone well, with the five-time Grand Slam winner exiting the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy event back in January, despite have reached the second round.

Sharapova hasn't appeared in a tournament since leaving the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy early back in January.
Sharapova hasn't appeared in a tournament since leaving the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy early back in January.OLGA MALTSEVA/Getty Images

The frequent withdrawals means it's been a stop-start year for Sharapova. She has appeared in just three events, with a progress in the Australian Open ending in the fourth round.

Sharapova has always been a strong contender at Roland Garros, where she won in both 2012 and 2014. Missing this year's event in the French capital denies the former world No. 1 another chance to repair her standing and reputation in the game.

Two years ago, she returned to action after being reinstate following a band for doping. She had been suspended for 15 months after being found guilty of anti-doping violations by the International Tennis Federation in June 2016.

Things haven't gone smoothly since, with Sharapova yet to win another major since her return. It makes the decision to fully mend a problem that's wrecking her game a smart one.

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