Reports surfaced today that Maria Sharapova will pull out of the singles event at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA. The event begins next week and will feature all of the top players in both men’s and women’s tennis aside from the Williams sisters. Sharapova pulled out of the singles because of concerns over the strength of her shoulder and its ability to withstand two weeks of intense singles play. Instead, she will test the shoulder by playing doubles with countrywoman Elena Vesnina.
Sharapova has been out of action since last summer when she realized she could no longer play with her injured right shoulder. After a series of consultations and mistaken diagnoses, she underwent arthroscopic surgery on the should last fall. Sharapova has been trying to regain strength in the shoulder ever since and ultimately decided that she could not play the Australian Open because she was not yet ready to compete at the highest level. Many were optimistic that Sharapova would be back playing singles at Indian Wells, but she has decided to take things a bit slower. She will see how her injury stands up to doubles play this coming week and will then decide whether to play singles in Miami, which follows the Indian Wells event.