Rome (AP) – Two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova pulled out of the year’s second Grand Slam tournament on Tuesday because of her surgically repaired right shoulder.
Sharapova announced her withdrawal on Instagram.
“Sometimes the right decisions aren’t always the easiest ones,” she wrote.
She said she has returned to practice and is “slowly building the strength back” in her shoulder.
The former No. 1 and owner of five major titles hasn’t competed anywhere since late January, when she withdrew from a tournament in Russia after winning her opening match there. In February, she said she had a “small procedure” on her shoulder, which was painful since last year because of a fraying tendon and small labrum tear.
During a recent interview at the Italian Open, International Tennis Hall of Fame member Nick Bollettieri said Sharapova is at his academy “right now, training.”
Asked whether Sharapova is contemplating retirement, the coach responded: “Not yet. I think she’s going to give it one more shot.”
Play begins at the French Open on May 26. The 32-year-old Sharapova won the title at Roland Garros in 2012 to complete a career Grand Slam and collected the trophy at the clay-court major again in 2014.
That was the last time she won a Grand Slam tournament.
Since then, the Russian has been only an occasional participant in the sport’s four most prestigious events: This French Open will mark the eighth time in a span of 20 majors that she has been absent.
Sharapova was sidelined for 15 months by a doping suspension after failing a drug test at the Australian Open in January 2016, then returned to the tour in April 2017 with a ranking too low to get into Grand Slam events. The French Open denied her a wild-card invitation, then she planned to try to qualify for Wimbledon before pulling out because of an injured left leg.
Her right shoulder has been an issue over the years.
She cut her 2018 season short in September because of problems with it.
Sharapova originally had surgery on the shoulder in 2008 and was off the tour for about 10 months. She skipped the 2013 U.S. Open because of that shoulder, too.