Maria Sharapova pulled out of the 2017 Western & Southern Open. The news follows previous withdrawals for both Toronto and Stanford. The problem has been with her left forearm, an injury that she picked up early in the Stanford draw two weeks ago. While she missed Toronto's Rogers Cup entirely, she did play in one match in the California tournament before pulling out. However, her participation in Stanford was only very minimal. Having missed all three events, the injury is a major setback for The Russian.

Sharapova was "eager to play"

“I arrived in Cincinnati yesterday eager to play.

However, following the doctor’s advice on-site, as a precaution for the US Open, I am unfortunately withdrawing from the tournament with the left forearm injury I sustained in Stanford,” Sharapova said according to the Western & Southern Open website. “I want to thank the tournament for the wild card opportunity and really look forward to competing here next year.”

Sharapova is still ranked well outside of the top 100 on the women's tour. As such she is dependent on wild cards for entry into big events like the Western & Southern Open. She certainly doesn't get wild cards for every tournament at this point in her career which is a big reason why her missing Toronto and Cincinnati, two tournaments that offer a lot of ranking points, really hurts her comeback bid.

Had she simply made the quarterfinal of one of the events then it would have significantly improved her ranking on tour. Things as they are she will still be dependent on wild cards for similar events in the future.

US Open may be in jeopardy

The US Open starts at on August 28th. Besides Cincinnati, there is an event in New Haven to be played, known as the Connecticut Open.

However, Sharapova isn't in that event and won't be seeking entry as per her comments which reference preparing for Flushing Meadows. The Russian has been the target of controversy since returning from her suspension due to her positive test for a banned substance. Chris Evert, for example, is one tennis commentator that has suggested that Sharapova should not receive a wild card into the US Open.

That would still leave her a chance to win qualifying matches, but Sharapova is not match tested at this point in her career. With a lingering injury and cold for competitive court time, she would not be a lock to win qualifiers. Her participation in the main draw of the women's US Open appears to hang in the balance at this time.