NEW WORK (AP) Maria Sharapova pulled out of the U.S. Open for the second time in three years Sunday, withdrawing on the eve of the tournament because of a lingering right leg injury.
The U.S. Tennis Association announced the withdrawal via a press release at about the same time that Sharapova, who won the title in New York in 2006, posted the news on her Facebook page.
“Unfortunately I will not be able to compete in this (year’s U.S.) Open. I have done everything possible to be ready but it was just not enough time,” Sharapova’s message said. “To all my amazing fans, I will be back in the Asian swing in a few weeks and look forward to finishing the year healthy and strong.”
In 2013, Sharapova skipped the U.S. Open because of a right shoulder injury. She also missed the Grand Slam tournament played on hard courts in Flushing Meadows in 2008, when she was off the tour for about 10 months because of surgery on her right shoulder.
Sharapova has not played a match on tour since losing to No. 1-ranked Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals in July.
The 28-year-old Russian withdrew from hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati in August, citing a right leg strain.
“From a player’s perspective you always have to believe in the ability to go through the little things that you might have. Physically, that’s part of sports, unfortunately,” Sharapova said in an interview this month. “There’s no athlete who’s ever 100 percent healthy.”
Sharapova is a five-time major champion who was going to be seeded No. 3 for the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday. She was drawn to possibly face Williams — who is bidding for tennis’ first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988 — in the semifinals.
The USTA said that Daria Kasatkina, an 18-year-old Russian who is ranked 133rd, is the lucky loser who will replace Sharapova in the main draw.
Play begins today.