Sharapova withdraws from Dubai Championships

Updated: February 26, 2008, 5:10 PM ET
Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Maria Sharapova pulled out of the Dubai Championships with a viral infection.

The fifth-ranked Sharapova said Tuesday she has been battling a virus for several days and that it has "reached a point where I'm unable to compete."

"This is really disappointing to me, but I do intend to come back to Dubai next year and hopefully have a great tournament," she said.

Sharapova, who won this year's Australian Open and last week's Qatar Open, was seeded fifth in the tournament and was scheduled to start Tuesday against Hungary's Agnes Szavay. She was replaced in the main draw by Akiko Morigami of Japan.

Sharapova said she was feeling ill before the Qatar Open.

"I have been coughing a lot and feeling tired, but I somehow played through there," she said. "But I don't want to repeat the mistakes I have made in my past, when I tried to play through injuries and sickness and aggravated it."

The Dubai Championships offers $1.5 million in prize money and has attracted the top six ranked players in the world.

Sharapova said she would go home and rest for a week, before tournaments in Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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