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Sharapova and Keys withdraw from Birmingham Classic

Maria Sharapova

London, June 14: Maria Sharapova and Madison Keys have withdrawn from the Birmingham Classic following their French Open exploits.

Sharapova will delay the start of her grass-court season after reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

The five-time grand slam champion said in a statement: "I have good memories of Birmingham so I'm disappointed not to be able to play this year,

"I need to take care of my body and make sure I stay healthy and sometimes that means you have to take tough decisions like this one. I wish everyone in Birmingham a great tournament."

Keys, beaten by close friend Sloane Stephens in the last four in Paris last week, withdrew due to an abdominal injury.

The American said: "I am sorry to have to pull out of Birmingham this year.

"Everyone knows how much I love playing on grass and I was looking forward to starting my grass season there, but unfortunately I aggravated an injury I sustained in Rome and need to rest as much as I can right now.

"I look forward to returning to Birmingham next year and playing in front of its great fans."

Donna Vekic will now take her place in the draw for the WTA Premier tournament, which starts next week.

Earlier, it was announced that World number one and French Open champion Rafael Nadal will not play the Fever-Tree Championships ahead of Wimbledon.

Nadal claimed an unprecedented 11th Roland Garros crown last weekend, but did experience some discomfort during the third set against Dominic Thiem.

The Spaniard - who won at Queen's in 2008 - was scheduled to feature in London ahead of the year's third grand slam, but now it appears he could have no grass-court preparation before Wimbledon begins on July 2.

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    Story first published: Thursday, June 14, 2018, 15:00 [IST]
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