World number four Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the Brisbane International due to an injury to her left forearm.
Sharapova, who is the defending champion, suffered the injury while practicing last week and subsequently made the decision to withdraw prior to her first round match against Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday afternoon.
The Russian added that she decided not to risk aggravating the injury as she wants to be fully fit to compete at the Australian Open, which is set to get underway on January 18.
“I hurt my forearm in practice a couple days ago & need to precautionary withdraw with the Australian Open starting,” Sharapova told reporters. “Brisbane International is such a special event especially being defending champion. I look forward to seeing all my fans next year.”
The 28-year-old struggled with injuries last year, having missed the US Open after injuring her leg at Wimbledon, and then suffering an elbow injury on her return to action at the Wuhan Open nearly three months later.
Sharapova is joined on the sidelines by top seed Simona Halep. The Romanian withdrew from the tournament ahead of her mouthwatering second round match with Victoria Azarenka due to a leg injury.
Halep was handed a first round bye, and as a result her clash with Azarenka would have been the world number two's first match of the year.