Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are facing fines and penalties for their late withdrawals from the Dubai Championships this week.
Azarenka withdrew from the tournament for the second straight year on Monday, citing a bruised heel and fatigue. As a result, she’ll forfeit $100,000 from the WTA’s bonus pool (a $4.9 million pool of incentive payments made available to top-10 players who satisfy certain minimum commitments at the end of the year) and receive a “zero pointer” for the tournament, meaning the tournament must be included in the calculation of her ranking.
“I unfortunately have to withdraw from this tournament due to a right foot injury, which happened last week,” Azarenka told reporters. “I have been obviously playing on it a lot, a lot of tennis over the last five days, especially, so going to a new tournament is too much to handle right now.”
Similarly, Williams’ Wednesday withdrawal due to the back injury from the Australian Open means she’s forfeited $50,000 from the WTA’s bonus pool and will be charged a zero pointer as well. Azarenka’s facing a stiffer forfeiture because this is the second straight year she’s withdrawn from Dubai after the entry deadline.
“I’ve just had some back problems the past couple weeks,” Serena told reporters. “It didn’t get better. I thought it would get better as the week went on, but it didn’t. I don’t want to keep pushing it and make it worse.”