Updates from Sunday, May 18
Just days before the 2014 French Open is set to begin, Victoria Azarenka announced whether she'll be participating:
Hi Guys - Unfortunately I will not be able to compete in Roland Garros this year. Working hard on my recovery & getting back on the court.— victoria azarenka (@vika7) May 19, 2014
I just want to thank you all for your support. It means a lot to me. Be in touch soon! Love -V— victoria azarenka (@vika7) May 19, 2014
As the WTA Twitter account points out, she is still dealing with the same injury that has plagued her for a few months now:
Women's tennis star Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the Sony Open in Miami with a nagging foot injury.
Courtney Nguyen of Sports Illustrated reported the news Wednesday and included a statement from Azarenka explaining her unfortunate situation:
I am very sad not to be able to compete at this year’s Sony Open in Miami. I love playing in the U.S. and my results in the past were also great. But it’s been now over a year that it seems that bad luck has been following me. I couldn’t play in Miami last year with a problem in my ankle and now this with my foot. It is time for me to think about my recovery and will work hard for that.
When will Victoria Azarenka win her next Grand Slam title?
Azarenka, 24, has been battling through health issues over the past two seasons, as she alluded to in the statement. She was upset in the quarterfinals of this year's Australian Open after winning the Grand Slam tournament in each of the previous two years.
A combination of excellent athleticism and powerful groundstrokes makes Azarenka's game ideal for the hard-court surface. She can cover a great amount of court when healthy, which makes this foot injury all the more troublesome for her future.
According to Nguyen, Azarenka labeled the injury as "nerve damage" after her second-round 6-0, 7-6 (2) loss last week at the BNP Paribas Open to Lauren Davis. In that match, an emotional Azarenka slammed her racket in frustration, which Erik Gudris of USA Today didn’t take much exception to given the circumstances:
Azarenka earns code violation for slamming racquet down after being broken for 4-3. Have to say, can't blame her. #WTA— Erik Gudris (@ATNtennis) March 8, 2014
This withdrawal does not bode well for the rest of the 2014 season, as the former world No. 1 Azarenka currently stands in fourth in the WTA rankings. As Azarenka mentioned in her statement, she had ankle issues at this tournament last year, which has to be all the more frustrating since she’s won in Miami twice before.
There is still plenty of time for Azarenka to get healthy before the U.S. Open begins in August. There she will return to the hard-courts and seek to do just a touch better than her previous two results, both three-set losses in the finals to Serena Williams. A third career major title would do wonders for Azarenka as she seeks to get back on track—and most importantly, back on the court, to be a factor at the other Grand Slam events.