Former world no.1 Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Italian Open as she continues to recover from a right shoulder injury she has been complaining of through 2018. The three-time champion will be replaced by the 45th-ranked Viktoria Kuzmova, Rome organisers announced on Wednesday.
Sharapova has been sidelined since pulling out of the St. Petersburg Open in Russia in January after winning the first-round match.
The three-time Grand Slam winner later said she had gone through a “small procedure” on her right shoulder that would need a few weeks to heal.
Sharapova added that she has struggled since midway through 2018 with shoulder pain caused by a fraying tendon and small labrum tear. This now puts the 28th-ranked player in doubt for the French Open, which begins at the end of the month.
Since the withdrawal from St. Petersburg, Sharapova has had to further withdraw from the Stuttgart Open and the Madrid Open prior to Rome. The injury has put a halt on her comeback from a 15-month doping suspension between October 2016 and April 2017. Her best finish in a Grand Slam in the period since came in the 2018 French Open where she lost in the quarter-final to Garbine Muguruza.