Updates from Friday, Feb. 7
The WTA has announced that Williams has withdrawn from the Qatar Open:
The BNT Parabas Open also announced Williams will not be participating:
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the 2014 BNP Paribas Open. Statements from her and TD Steve Simon are here http://t.co/6V1LB966qX— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) February 7, 2014
Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, revealed that she had hurt herself during a practice session between the second and third rounds, per USA Today's Douglas Robson:
Matt Cronin of Tennis.com noted how the back injury affected her performance against Ivanovic. The biggest problem was that she couldn't move as well on the court:
Serena’s coach Mouratoglou credits Ivanovic w/ playing very well, pressuring Serena but Williams couldnt move forward & attack like normal— Matt Cronin (@TennisReporters) January 19, 2014
Serena suffered 'blocked' back injury in practice prior 2 match v Hantuchova. Almost pulled out. Movement was restricted then & today— Matt Cronin (@TennisReporters) January 19, 2014
The good news is that Williams' injury isn't considered serious, and since she's already out of the tournament, she can take a prolonged break to ensure that the back fully heals.
The next Grand Slam on the schedule is the French Open in May. That leaves plenty of time for Serena to get back to 100 percent and prepared enough on clay heading into Roland Garros.