Updates from Saturday, Aug. 23
Victoria Azarenka says the knee feels better and is not bothering her in practice. Doesn’t need as much tape anymore. #usopen— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) August 23, 2014
Victoria Azarenka has had a 2014 to forget. The former top-ranked tennis superstar has yet to win a tournament this year and battled various injuries along the way, including a knee injury that has forced her to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open.
According to a report from the Associated Press, via FoxSports.com, Azarenka made the decision to pull out of the event she won last year following a practice session on Tuesday.
The WTA says Azarenka withdrew after practicing on Tuesday. Azarenka was replaced in the draw by Mona Barthel.
Azarenka injured her knee in her first-round win at Wimbledon and played in two tournaments after the grass-court major.
Azarenka tweeted the news out to her fans, saying that the decision was made in her best interest:
Unfortunately I won’t be playing in Cincinnati this year. But I had to make the best decision for me. I will definitely be back next year— victoria azarenka (@vika7) August 12, 2014
Prior to this year, Azarenka was one of the best and most consistent players in the sport. She has won at least two events every season from 2009-13, including a career-best six titles in 2012 and reached the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings early that season.
This year, however, the 25-year-old has only had 17 singles matches and has only made it past the second round once since March, at the Coupe Rogers event in early August. She did win her opening match at the Western & Southern Open on Monday before the knee flared up again.
Now, with this latest setback, the question for Azarenka becomes whether or not she will be healthy for the U.S. Open which starts on August 25. She was quoted after withdrawing from the Western & Southern Open, via the WTA's official Twitter, that she'd be ready for the event:
The U.S. Open is the last Grand Slam event of the year and her only chance to salvage an otherwise lost season that's included missing the French Open and a second-round exit at Wimbledon.
Considering the way Azarenka's injuries have lingered this year, perhaps her best course of action would be taking as much time off in order to be ready for 2015. Athletes love to compete, so if there's a chance she can get back on the court right away, no one would be surprised.
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter.