Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the Brisbane International with a collarbone injury but last year's Australian Open finalist still expects to play in 2013's first major in two weeks.
The four-time major singles winner, who had a bye in the opening round, was due to play her first match on Wednesday but called a media conference to announce her withdrawal this afternoon.
The French Open champion also pulled out of an exhibition match against Caroline Wozniacki at the end of December in Seoul because of a similar injury.
The injury to the Russian star's right collarbone left her unable to hit overhead shots and it was deemed too early in her rehabilitation process for her to play competitively.
"I haven't given myself a chance to hit any serves or anything over my head," Sharapova said.
"I've just been practising groundstrokes - I just ran out of time here.
"It is feeling much better. Soon I will be able to do all the things that I have to.
"I still have quite a bit of time for the Australian Open and I'm on the right track and training really well and I don't want to jeopardise what I've gained in the off-season so far and I just need to make a smart move now.
"It is much more important to be healthy than go out and play a lot of matches. Last year was a good example."
Sharapova, who also withdrew from this event last year due to injury, will now head to Melbourne and will not take part in any warm-up tournaments ahead of the Australian Open.
Brisbane tournament director Cameron Pearson says Sharapova had made every effort to play.
"We feel for Maria because we saw first-hand how badly she wanted to play for the people of Brisbane," he said.
"She has been fantastic since she got here and worked hard in the gym, on court and in the medical room to do everything she could to get herself right."
The chief beneficiary of Sharapova's withdrawal is Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova who was set to play the world number two in the second round.
Gajdosova will now meet a lucky loser for the right to play Daniela Hantuchova, who beat fifth seed Sara Errani 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Meanwhile, the tournament saw another high-profile attraction fall by the wayside with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova bowing out in the second round.
The Czech sixth seed lost in straight sets to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-5.
Kazakh Ksenia Pervak, who upset Wozniacki on Monday, continued her winning run with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) triumph over Poland's Urszula Radwanska.
ABC/ReutersTags: sport, tennis, brisbane-4000 First posted January 01, 2013 15:56:33