Azarenka out of Dubai Open
updated 3:37 PM EST, Tue February 19, 2013
Victoria Azarenka is overcome with emotion after defeating Serena Williams at the final of the Qatar Open.
- Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the Dubai Open with injury
- The Qatar Open winner has been suffering with a heel problem
- Serena Williams the overwhelming favorite to win $2 million tournament
(CNN) -- Victoria Azarenka has been forced to withdraw from the Dubai Open for the second successive year after suffering an injured heel.
Azarenka, who surrendered the World No.1 spot Monday to Serena Williams, was hoping to build on her title win at the Qatar Open where she defeated the U.S. star.
The Belorussian would have regained the No.1 ranking had she won the tournament, but Williams is set to remain at the summit until the Indian Wells tournament next month.
Read: Azarenka ends time at the top on a high
"I'm very disappointed, but I have to listen to my body," Azarenka told reporters.
Eleven-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal made a winning return to singles action on Wednesday, beating Argentine Federico Delbonis.
Rafael Nadal returns in Chile
Esther Vergeer wipes away a tear after announcing her retirement from wheelchair tennis at a press conference in Rotterdam, where she is a director of an able-bodied men's tournament.
Wheelchair tennis ace retires
Novak Djokovic has become the world's top tennis player since overhauling his diet in 2010. "I observed him playing in the Australian Open," says the Serbian's former nutritionist Dr. Igor Cetojevic. "The commentator repeatedly referred to 'his asthma' and the problems he had breathing."
How to supercharge your body
"The injury happened last week when I played a lot of tennis, so going on to a new tournament is just too much. The heel kept getting worse, and I needed to re-evaluate.
"Sometimes the schedule is just too difficult. Unfortunately you can't know when you plan it in November what will happen in February.
"I didn't want to continue taking painkillers because sometimes it's better to feel the pain. so that you can control the injury. Otherwise it can cause something which is much worse.
"This is just a warning that I have to take care of myself."
Azarenka, who has a 14-0 record this year, revealed that the physical demands of the schedule has become a growing concern since she won the Australian Open last month.
"I never realised before just how much it takes out of you," she said. "Physically and mentally it just drains you out - and then you realise."
Read: Serena back on top of the world
Meanwhile, Williams, who is the oldest woman to ever hold top spot in the rankings, is the big favorite for the $2 million tournament.
And the 31-year-old says she's feeling in rude health going into the competition.
She told reporters: "I was really, really, really, really sick last week and physically I just wasn't at my best, considering I couldn't train, and I didn't practice.
"I practised only one or two days before playing because I had the ankle problems.
"But I didn't want to not show up and not play. So at least if I could show up and play my way into shape I would be able to compete and that's what I did.
"I feel so much better this week already. I feel like a completely different athlete, and a completely different person, compared with last week."
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:29 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013
She towers above him, but she can't do without him. Meet the man who has made Maria Sharapova the world's wealthiest female athlete.
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Mon April 22, 2013
When Maria Sharapova underwent shoulder surgery five years ago, many thought her tennis career wouldn't last.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
Nine-year-old Rebecca Suarez stunned onlookers when she was pulled out of the crowd to team up with Del Potro against Nadal.
updated 5:15 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
Janko Tipsarevic is of the belief that his fellow professionals aren't doping -- or at least not on a widespread basis.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska are hoping to take their relationship to a new level by emulating tennis' most famous female sisters.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Tue March 26, 2013
Open Court meets Poland's world No. 4 Agniezska Radwanska, who's making waves on the women's tennis scene.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
America's 18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert talks to Open Court about her career and training the next generation of players.
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
CNN's Don Riddell speaks with 11-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal during one of his comeback tournaments in Mexico.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
Germany's veteran star Tommy Haas opens up to Pat Cash about being away from family on tour, and his many injuries.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Mon March 11, 2013
You'd think John Isner and Nicolas Mahut would be sick of the sight of each other, but their friendship has grown since that epic match.
updated 11:08 AM EST, Mon March 4, 2013
Almost a decade after Andy Roddick's sole U.S. Open victory, America is still waiting for its next male grand slam winner. What's gone wrong?
updated 11:21 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
Open Court's Pat Cash meets American No. 1 John Isner, who experts claim has the potential to win a grand slam.
updated 4:17 AM EST, Mon February 25, 2013
CNN's Pat Cash looks at who the next U.S. grand slam champion might be.
updated 10:45 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
CNN's Patrick Snell looks at how the famous couple is helping groom the next generation of tennis stars.
updated 5:09 AM EST, Mon February 25, 2013
With his sights set on the top, Ryan Harrison is the youngest player to win a professional match in 20 years.
updated 11:12 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
He's "Mac the Mouth" both on and off the court -- one of the most controversial and iconic players in tennis history, and he's still talking up a storm.
updated 6:31 AM EST, Tue January 29, 2013
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have transformed their careers since discovering a diet secret that is battling for mainstream acceptance.
updated 10:00 AM EST, Mon January 28, 2013
Novak Djokovic knew he was going to be a tennis star from an early age when growing up in war-torn Belgrade.
updated 8:25 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
Nine women, a bold proposal and a $1 bill. That was what it took for women's tennis to begin a 40-year journey of self-empowerment.