Image by Flickr user Lobinhoot
Update April 3: Following a bitter 6-1, 6-4 loss to Victoria Azarenka in the Sony Ericsson Open finals, Maria Sharapova has pulled out from this year's Family Circle Cup.
"We knew there was a chance she would withdraw depending on her performance in Miami when she accepted our wild card in January, and we congratulate Maria on her success at that event," said Family Circle Cup General Manager Bob Moran. "Despite the loss of one high profile competitor, our draw still boasts four of the Top 10 players in the world, as well as four Family Circle Cup champions and a host of other marquis players."
The Post and Courier has a few additional words and more background on the news; read their report here.
Update by Ken Hawkins.
First reporting January 14: Former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion Maria Sharapova has officially entered the 2011 Family Circle Cup.
The 23-year-old, six-foot two-inch Russian superstar currently owns a 371-91 singles record, has amassed over $13.5 million in career earnings, and has notched major titles on three different continents.
Sharapova enters this WTA Tour Premier Event player field currently ranked No. 16 after posting a solid 2010 season, which included her 21st and 22nd Tour singles titles at Memphis and Strasbourg. She joins World No. 6 and defending champion Samantha Stosur, as well as 19-year-old American standout Melanie Oudin, as a world class player field begins to assemble on Daniel Island.
For more on Sharapova and her entrance into the Family Circle Cup, take a read of the official tournament press release.
For addition information on tickets sales, confirmed players and more, check out our 2011 Family Circle Cup topic page.