Brisbane - Defending champion and tournament drawcard Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International with a left forearm injury, organisers said on Tuesday.
World No 4 and third seed Sharapova said she "hurt my forearm in practice a couple days ago" and needed to withdraw as a precaution ahead of the Australian Open.
"#BrisbaneTennis is such a special event especially being defending champion. I look forward to seeing all my fans next year," she said according to a statement tweeted by Brisbane International.
The 28-year-old Russian had been due to play fellow countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova in the first round later on Tuesday.
Makarova will now face a "lucky loser", the organisers added.
The latter half of Sharapova's 2015 season was wrecked by injuries, first to her right leg which forced her to miss the US Open.
She retired from her comeback match at the Wuhan Open in China in September with a left forearm injury, only returning for the WTA Tour finals in Singapore at the end of October.