Indian pin-up girl Sania Mirza on Wednesday pulled out of the Qatar round with a knee injury, equally disappointing fans and organisers here.
Mirza, who was scheduled to meet Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round of the 1.34 million dollar event on Wednesday, announced her decision an hour before her match.
"I have pain in my right knee and I didn't want to risk it further,"
Mirza told reporters. "I am flying back home to Hyderabad where I will have an MRI tomorrow."
Even before Mirza spoke to the press hordes of fans who were unaware of her condition were thronging the stadium to watch her in action.
She was scheduled to play the first match of the day on centre court, an honour the Qatar Tennis Federation had given her considering her crowd pulling capacity.
"It's very hard to pull out midway in a tournament because there are so many fans who want to see you play.
"Unfortunately injuries are a part and parcel of an athlete's life."
Mirza said she would wait for all her medical tests before deciding whether or not to play in Indian Wells next.
"I hope the injury is not serious and will heal quickly. My next tournament depends on that."
Mirza had beaten Italian Romina Oprandi in the first round during which she hurt her knee.