The former world number one hasn’t played here since 2006.

Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to injury, organisers say.

While she hasn’t hit the court in the UAE in 12 years, Sharapova was in the country as recently as November, for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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One of the game’s most recognisable names of the last 15 years, Sharapova faced a two-year ban for doping after she tested positive for heart medication meldonium. It was reduced to 15 months and finished in April last year.

Under the Melbourne ☀️. Love the elegance of this dress.

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

Since then, she’s played in the Australian Open in Melbourne, and spent a lot of time in the gym and on the court, from the looks of her Instagram.

The time since the end of her ban has been marked by injury.

8mm vintage 📽vibes

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

Sharapova was set to play in the championship on a wild card entry. Three other former world champions are still competing – Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, and Karolina Pliskova.

Madison Keys has also had to pull out of the competition, citing illness.

“We are sorry that neither Maria nor Madison will be able to play in Dubai, but we still have one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the WTA event,” tournament director Salah Tahlak said.

“Maria said that she is very sorry she cannot be here and hopes to come back next year. We wish her and Madison a speedy recovery.”

This year’s event runs from February 19 to March 3, and will be held at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Garhoud. Tickets start from Dhs55.

See you in the stands.

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Images: Maria Sharapova/Instagram