Dubai: World No 1 Victoria Azarenka has admitted that it will be a race against time for her to get back to prime fitness and maintain her position at the top of women's tennis.
Azarenka slipped during her semi-final at last week's Doha Open, injuring her left ankle in the bargain. She was all set to play against Germany's Julia Goerges in their second round match on Wednesday evening. But with the pain persisting on the ankle, the Belarusian decided to withdraw.
"Obviously, the next tournament is Indian Wells and I will try to take a few days to just let the ankle settle. Hopefully it'll get better and with it I will have the rest, because obviously it's needed," Azarenka admitted after her withdrawal from the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open here on Wednesday.
The world's top player, who climbed the summit of women's tennis following her win at the Australian Open at the end of last month, reiterated the need to get the ankle sorted out as soon as possible. And she has just about two weeks in which she will have to do it.
The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells will get under way on March 7 and will be followed by the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami from March 20.
"I'm definitely going to try to do the ultrasound or scan just to have peace of mind. Or if there is something that is worse, I have to take action. But for starts, I will just allow it to settle down for the first two days or three days," she said.
Azarenka admitted that at the moment her greatest concern is to get back to prime health.
"I think the health is the most important. If I'm healthy I can produce good tennis. It's good for the people to watch. When you go and you cannot play, I don't think the crowd can enjoy the match. Definitely, health is the most important," she acknowledged.
"Tennis is my life, but after tennis there is still hopefully a long life to live. I cannot jeopardise that," she insisted.
With not much to choose from at the moment, Azarenka admitted that her only option is to take things as they come. "I have to be patient because with health there are no really miracles. You try to stay positive, because in the positive mode, the healing process is always better and faster," she observed.