Maria Sharapova has dropped out of the Australian Open. She has been recovering from a shoulder injury which kept her off the WTA tour for all of the second half of 2008. Maria's agent said in an interview in November that Sharapova would be more than ready to defend her title in Melbourne, but Sharapova dropped out of Hond Kong, hoping that her shoulder would improve. It did, but Maria had this to say. “I am very sorry to announce that I am not going to be able to defend my title at this year’s Australian Open. My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels.”
Novak Djokovic was ousted from the Brisbane International earlier this week in the early rounds. He lost to Ernests Gulbis, who is no easy defeat, but more is expected from Djokovic, who opted to play in Brisbane, rather than Doha where the bug guns, Nadal, Federer, Murray and Roddick were. Djokovic blamed his loss on his switch from Wilson to Head and made these remarks. “I went from Wilson [racquet], which I played with for the last three years, to Head - and there’s a lot of mental involvement obviously if you make a big change. It takes some time. Of course, you have to hit a lot of balls and you just have to feel comfortable. I didn’t feel in Brisbane comfortable with the racquet and with the circumstances, but it’s going to be better.” He better get used to it before the Australian Open on January 19th.