World No. 2 Azarenka pulls out of Dubai
Originally published on: 19/02/13 00:00
The Belarusian won the Qatar Total Open on Sunday but was helpless to prevent runner-up Serena Williams overtaking her at the top of the WTA rankings.
Azarenka, who is 14-0 for the 2013 season, ended a nine-match losing streak against Williams to successfully defend her title with a 7-6(6) 2-6 6-3 victory over the American in Doha. However, she revealed she had been playing with painkillers after suffering an injury in her right foot.
"I'm very disappointed, but I have to listen to my body," Azarenka said.
Azarenka could have returned to No. 1 if she had won in Dubai this week, but instead will have to wait until the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells to have a shot at dethroning Williams.
"I feel like we're pushing each other to go to the limit every time, to step up, to improve, and that's a tremendous motivation to have,” Azarenka said of her rivalry with Williams last week.
“You know somebody is out there who wants to push you. For me, it's an incredible privilege to be in that position."