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05 March 2024

Dubai Tennis: After Azarenka, Serena Williams withdraws due to injury

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates match point after defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to win the women's singles final on Day Fourteen of the 2012 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday in New York City. (AFP)

By Ajanta Paul

World number one Serena Williams has been forced to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to a lower back injury.

“We were looking forward to seeing Serena play, and are disappointed that this injury has ruled her out” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to hopefully seeing her back in Dubai next year.”

This news comes as a jolt for Tennis fans in the region, specially as it comes in the wake of 2nd-ranked Victoria Azarenka's withdrawal from the tournament.

Azarenka cited a bone bruise in her right foot. The Belarusian beat Williams in the finals of the recently concluded Qatar Open.

However, Williams took over the No. 1 ranking last week in Qatar, the sixth time in her career she has been the top-ranked player in the world.

She lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last month after injuring her back.

The US Open, Wimbledon and Olympic Gold medalist has succumbed to the injury and will be forced to miss a tournament she had targeted as one of her goals for the year.

Despite her absence, the WTA Premier Series event still features a stellar field. “We are disappointed that Serena Williams will not be playing in Dubai this year,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.

“However, we are looking forward to watching defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska and Grand Slam winners Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic and Samantha Stosur in action” he added.