(Reuters) - Former world number one Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from this month's BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California due to a persistent arm injury, the Russian said on Thursday in a statement from tournament organizers.
The five-times grand slam champion has been troubled by her left forearm since the start of the year when she pulled out of an Australian Open warm-up tournament in Brisbane.
Sharapova lost to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January and has not competed since then.
"I am extremely disappointed that I am unable to compete in this year's BNP Paribas Open," said world number seven Sharapova, who won the Indian Wells title in 2006 and 2013.
"I have been focused on healing my left forearm injury and tried to get my body to be 100 percent ready to play this event, as it is one of my favorite events on the WTA and so close to my home in LA."
In the absence of Sharapova, Colombia's Mariana Duque-Marino moves into the main women's draw at Indian Wells.
Williams is the top seed for the women's event at the BNP Paribas Open, which will be played from March 9-20.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)