Maria Sharapova Withdraws From Brisbane International

PARIS - MAY 27: Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during the women's singles second round match between Maria Sharapova of Russia and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium on day five of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2010 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has pulled out of next month's Brisbane International due to a nagging ankle injury. The combined WTA and ATP tournament runs Jan. 1-8 and is the first tournament of the 2012 season. It is also the main tournament to precede the Australian Open.

Sharapova twisted her left ankle back in September during the Pacific Life Open.

The former Australian Open champion was upset she had to withdraw from the first tournament of the year, but wants to make sure she can have a chance at a return to the top of the Slam played Down Under.

From The Australian:

"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," Sharapova said in a statement.

"Unfortunately my ankle is not 100 per cent and I won't be able to make it this year."

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