Serena to miss Doha, Indian Wells

  • Last Updated: February 8 2014, 8:46 GMT

Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week's Qatar Open and won't play in Indian Wells either.

Serena sustained a back injury in Melbourne last month
Serena sustained a back injury in Melbourne last month

The world number one, who lost to Victoria Azarenka in last year's final Doha, still has a back injury which she suffered during last month's Australian Open when she was upset by Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round in Melbourne.

The problem has ruled her out of the Qatar event, which Azarenka is also missing due to injury, and has also opted not to play in Indian Wells.

Williams had entered the BNP Paribas Open, a tournament she and her elder sister Venus have boycotted since 2001 when she was fiercely booed, and allegedly racially abused, as she played Kim Clijsters in the final.

Spectators were angry at the time after Venus had defaulted to Serena due to tendinitis just moments before they were scheduled to meet in the semi-finals.

While Serena did enter this year, Venus did not and on Friday Serena withdrew without giving a reason.

"After careful consideration, I will not return to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open this year. I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the tournament," the 32-year-old said in a statement.

Serena softened her stance towards the tournament after watching the Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk To Freedom.

However, whether due to the back injury or a change of heart, the wait for a Williams sister to appear again at Indian Wells will go on.

"We are disappointed that Serena has withdrawn from the 2014 BNP Paribas Open,'' said tournament director Steve Simon. "We wish her the very best of luck in the year ahead and hope that she will decide to play here next year.''

New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30