Top seeded Victoria Azarenka has been forced to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to a foot injury.
Fresh after tasting success and defeating Serena Williams in three sets in the recently concluded Qatar Open, Azarenka expressed her disappointment.
"It happened last week. I have been obviously playing on it a lot, so going to a new tournament right is too much to handle right now. It keeps getting worse. It was an unfortunate decision that I had to make, and obviously I’m very disappointed with that” said Azarenka.
The world number two could have snatched her position back from Williams had she won the $2 million Dubai Cup.
“We were looking forward to seeing Victoria in action, particularly as she was also unable to play last year through injury” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back in Dubai next year.”
It is learnt that Azarenka had been playing part of the Qatar Open with painkillers.
Azarenka's exit from Dubai Open means Serena Williams will get to enjoy her world number ranking until the Indian Wells tournament next month.
Despite this sudden exit the WTA championship will see some of the best women plays in the court like Serena Williams, defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska and Grand Slam winners Petra Kvitova and Samantha Stosur”he added.
Azarenka’s place in the draw will be filled by lucky loser Carla Suarez Navarro.
The WTA Tour event continues until February 23, and play then continues on February 25th with the ATP tournament featuring six of the world’s top 10, including world number one Novak Djokovic, five-time winner and defending champion Roger Federer, as well as top 10 rivals Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic.