Dubai She came, she saw and then left without putting her raquet to the ball. The reason: a lingering left ankle injury that she couldn't risk aggravating especially with Premier tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami coming up next month.
If truth be told, world No. 1 and Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka didn't have too many points to defend at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships anyway, having lost in the third round last year.
But the 22-year-old from Belarus had played through the pain in Doha, a tournament which she won to carry a 17-0 record this year coming into Dubai.
"Last week it was already hurt in the semifinal, and in the final I tried to do everything, you know, to be able to play. It took a lot of sacrifice by taking a lot painkillers, but apparently didn't get better.
"I had to adjust my movement, compromise in other parts of my body which started to hurt, and it's just too much of a risk," she said at the press conference to announce her withdrawl on Wednesday.
Azarenka attended the players' party on Tuesday night and she pointed out that there was more to life than just tennis. "Health is the most important. Tennis is my life, but I mean, after tennis there is still hopefully a long life to live. I cannot jeopardize that."
She also added that it was important for her to be 100 per cent fit to play.
"Well, definitely I don't want to repeat the mistakes that I've done before when I was not 100 per cent, not even 50 per cent, and I went on the court and still tried and didn't do no good to the tournament or to myself.
"First of all to myself, to my health, just aggravate it all the time. I think the health is the most important. If I'm healthy I can produce good tennis. For people it's good to watch. When you go and you cannot play, I mean, I don't think the crowd can enjoy the match or something," she said.
Azarenka said she wanted to take her mind off tennis for the moment. "Well, I take couple of days off just to see, and hopefully it will settle down for as long that I don't need to take a scan or anything.
"I think I need a little bit of time off tennis."