DOHA: Two-time defending champion and world No.2, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, has withdrawn from the Qatar Total Open 2014 due to ‘foot inflammation’.
Azarenka first won the Doha title in 2012 when she defeated Australia’s Sam Stosur in the final, 6-1, 6-2.
She returned last year to defend her title – which she did successfully by defeating American Serena Williams in the final, 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3.
Azarenka holds 17 WTA singles titles and six doubles titles.
She has won the Australian Open two times (2012 and 2013) and reached the finals of the US Open twice (2012 and 2013).
She also has an Olympic gold medal in Mixed Doubles (with Max Mirnyi) at the 2012 London Games.
Azarenka said in a statement: “I am sorry I can’t make it to Doha for the Qatar Total Open, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to recover on time from my ongoing foot injury.”
She added: “I am thankful to all my fans in Doha and I look forward to coming back next year.
I wish the best of luck to the tournament and hope that fans enjoy watching the other players that will be coming to that great event.”
Tournament Director, Saad Al Mohannadi, said: “We are disappointed that Victoria cannot join us at this year’s event but we wish her a quick recovery and best of luck for the rest of the season. Victoria has promised us that she will be back next year and we look forward to welcoming her to Doha once more.”
The tournament starts on February 10 at Khalifa Tennis Complex.