London [U.K], Feb 15 (ANI): Former world number one Maria Sharapova has pulled out of next week’s Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships due to a forearm strain.

The 30-year-old had earlier accepted a wildcard entry to make her first appearance at the tournament since 2006.

The development of Sharapova’s withdrawal comes just few hours after US Open finalist Madison Keys also pulled out of the Dubai Open due to illness.

Tournament director Salah Tahlak confirmed the news, saying, “Unfortunately both Maria Sharapova and Madison Keys have regretfully had to withdraw from the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships due to injury and illness.

“We are sorry that neither Maria nor Madison will be able to play in Dubai, but we still have one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the WTA event,” the Daily Express quoted Tahlak, as saying.

Sharapova had earlier slumped to a 6-4, 4-6, 3-6 defeat at the hands of Romania’s Monica Niculescu in the opening round of the Qatar Open.

Five-time Grand Slam champion and the Russian tennis star Sharapova has a 21-10 win-loss record since making a return to the tennis court from a 15-month doping suspension last April.(ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.