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Candy does not make you dandy: Maria Sharapova pulls out of U.S. Open

maria-sharapova-sugarpova-4

The USTA announced on Wednesday that Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the U.S. Open. With play set to begin on Monday, the 2006 champion, who was to be seeded third, cited a right shoulder injury as the reason for her deciding to pull out of the tournament.

“Maria has informed us that she will be unable to compete at the U.S. Open this year due to a right shoulder bursitis and has withdrawn from the tournament,” the tournament director, David Brewer, said in a statement reported in The New York Times. “We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to her return to New York next year.”

But what makes her withdrawal curious is how Miss Sharapova has been making headlines all week regarding how she was considering a temporary request to change her last name to “Sugarpova” for the entirety of the U.S. Open.

Granted, the shoulder that apparently is preventing her from competing is the same one Sharapova had surgery on in October, 2008. Sharapova also has been dealing with a hip injury she suffered after Wimbledon, not to mention how she fired Jimmy Connors after the legend served as her coach for only one match.

Nevertheless, Sharapova expressed profound regret about the withdrawal on her Facebook page:

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that withdrawing from the US Open has been a really tough decision to make. I have done everything I could since Wimbledon to get myself ready but it just wasn’t enough time. I have done many tests, received several opinions and it all comes down to taking the proper amount of time to heal my shoulder injury properly. It’s certainly not an easy decision to make ahead of one of my favorite tournaments, but I know it’s the right one that will get me back on the courts soon. I plan on taking the next few weeks off, receiving proper treatment and rehabilitation. I will miss being part of the US Open, but can’t wait for next year!

Sharapova has every right to pull out of the tournament if she feels she could not compete or over concern that participating could cause further damage to her bum shoulder. But in light of the aforementioned hullabaloo surrounding her considered name change — and the quick announcement that she would not be going through with it —  certainly makes it appear that Sharapova is more concerned with her off-the-court activities than ensuring she is in the best shape possible.

Again, that’s well within her rights, but how everything played out could leave a bad taste in her fans’ mouths. Although that could be rectified by eating some Sugarpova candy, something Sharapova herself may recommend to any of her fans she may have let down.

Further, how Sharapova and her management team played the media like a fiddle with the name change story that immediately preceded the launch of her Sugarpova Accessory Collection also may leave some folks soured on her withdrawal.

In fact, maybe Sharapova injured her shoulder patting herself on the back for her role in a genius marketing coup. It’s possible.

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