Tennis: Injured Sharapova, with one eye on Australian Open, pulls out of Brisbane event

Russia's Maria Sharapova during a match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in Prague on Nov 15, 2015.
Russia's Maria Sharapova during a match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in Prague on Nov 15, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRISBANE (REUTERS) - Multiple Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane International on Tuesday after suffering an arm injury in practice less than two weeks before the Australian Open.

"I hurt my forearm in practice a couple days ago and need to precautionary withdraw with the #AusOpen starting," the Russian was quoted as saying by Brisbane tournament organisers. "#BrisbaneTennis is such a special event especially being defending champion. I look forward to seeing all my fans next year."

Sharapova, the world No. 4, had been due to face compatriot Ekaterina Makarova in first-round action later on Tuesday but will be replaced by a lucky loser.

The 28-year-old five-time Grand Slam singles champion will rest up before she aims for her second Australian Open title when the year's first major gets underway in Melbourne on Jan 18.