Maria Sharapova pulls out of Dubai due to viral illness

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Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the $1.5 million Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships citing a viral illness.

On her official website, Sharapova, who won the Qatar Total Open two days ago and is unbeaten in 2008, revealed that she was playing with a bad cold throughout the last week’s tournament in Doha.

The 20-year-old Russian explained the cause of her withdrawal:

I flew to Dubai right after my final and woke up this morning feeling really fatigued and stuffed up with a cough. After trying to hit a little bit this evening I came to the conclusion that I’m realistically not going to be ready to play 5 matches in the next 5 days.

It’s been such a great and healthy start to the year, and I don’t want to jeopardize that by making the wrong decisions, as I have in the past. The plan is to have a nice week of ‘nothing’ and start up training for Palm Springs healthy and fresh.

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