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Injury forces Zvonareva out of Australian Open

December 22, 2012 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Vera Zvonareva will not be able to defend her Australian Open women's doubles title because of an ongoing shoulder injury.
Vera Zvonareva will not be able to defend her Australian Open women's doubles title because of an ongoing shoulder injury.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former world No.2 announces withdrawal from opening grand slam of 2013
  • The 28-year-old Russian has a injury to right shoulder
  • Follows a 2012 season marred by injury and illness where she played only 10 events

(CNN) -- Former world No.2 Vera Zvonareva has withdrawn from next month's Australian Open because of a shoulder injury.

The 28-year-old Russian, twice a semi-finalist in Melbourne and defending women's doubles champion (with compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova), announced on her Facebook page that she was pulling out of the event which starts on the January 14.

"Hey everyone ... some bad news. I will not be able to go to Australia this year," Zvonareva said.

"My body is not 100% recovered yet and I want to start when I know I can play the rest of the year. I keep working hard to get healthy
Vera Zvonareva

"My body is not 100% recovered yet and I want to start when I know I can play the rest of the year. I keep working hard to get healthy. Thank you for all your support!"

The Russian was troubled by a series of injuries (left hip and right shoulder) in 2012 which saw her compete at just 10 events.

Her last appearance in a grand slam was at Wimbledon in June, where she reached the third round before retiring with an upper respiratory illness.

Her absence from all tournaments since the London Olympics has seen her slip down the WTA rankings to No.96.

Zvonareva is a two-time grand slam finalist reaching both the Wimbledon final and the U.S. Open final in 2010 losing to Serena Williams and Belgium's Kim Clijsters respectively.

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