Maria Sharapova pulls out of Brisbane International

Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from January’s Brisbane International due to an ankle injury.

The Russian star twisted her left ankle at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in September and the problem has persisted, causing her to miss the WTA Championships in Istanbul in October.

“I was really looking forward to starting my 2012 season at the Brisbane International, which has a fantastic reputation as a great and welcoming event,” the 24-year-old said in a statement.

“Unfortunately my ankle is not 100% and I won’t be able to make it this year.”

The former Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion said that she is planning to compete at the Australian Open later in January.

“I do expect to be ready for the year’s first Grand Slam and I am really looking forward to competing on court,” she added.

Sharapova confirmed earlier this month that she will represent Russia in their Fed Cup round one match against Spain in February.

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