Maria Sharapova has opted to back out of a pre-Wimbledon tournament that will start this weekend in Birmingham as she wanted to give her body as much rest as possible for the season ahead. Sharapova last played in a quarter-final defeat to Garbine Muguruza at the 2018 French Open this year.
Sharapova, who made her return from a 15-month doping ban back in 2017, played her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2016 Australian Open against world number three Garbine Muguruza at Roland Garros recently. Although Sharapova was beaten comfortably by the Spaniard, she showed some improvement in her game during the course of the tournament.
However, the 31-year old Russian revealed that she intended to give her body some well-deserved rest with a busy season ahead. In relation to this, Sharapova confirmed that she would skip the pre-Wimbledon tournament to be held in Birmingham this week with immediate effect.
“I have good memories of Birmingham so I’m disappointed not to be able to play this year. I need to take care of my body and make sure I stay healthy and sometimes that means you have to take tough decisions like this one. I wish everyone in Birmingham a great tournament,” Sharapova said in a release.
Sharapova had an agreement with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), who allowed her to play as a wildcard on the condition she entered into a two-year deal to play the tournament in 2017 and 2018. But after her recent revelation that she will not be part of the tournament this year a well. Sharapova further stressed the fact that she desperately needed some rest after the French Open loss and added that she had to work on a few tweaks in her game-style.
"I think my body will need a little bit of rest, but, yeah, mentally I'm ready to go. You can look at today and, you know, although I don't want to erase it completely, there are a lot of things that I need to look at and face and work towards after this match.
"But when I'm talking about progression or looking back at the weeks, I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs,” Sharapova added.