Victoria Azarenka is ranked as the No. 3 women’s tennis player in the world.
At the Sony Open, as of Friday, her ranking in that tournament was nothing.
Azarenka pulled out of the tournament because of a right foot injury that has been hampering her the past few weeks.
“I feel like I’m in good tennis shape, but not physical shape right now,” Azarenka said as she became the third big-name withdrawal from the Sony, with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal exiting without playing a match before her.
Azarenka said she wanted to be “… 100 percent sure that I won’t be able to participate, because I was really looking forward to playing the tournament. I’m very disappointed, and for the fans as well.”
Her explanation for dropping out, extremely logical, was, “I mean, I have to be smart. I tried everything I could, but I couldn’t — it’s sports. Today, I went on the court and I got more pain. I cannot really move.”
She added, “I feel like I took a step back with my recovery trying to play here and trying to push.”
Azarenka was asked if she is worried the injury could last longer than the two or three weeks it was predicted to.
“Well, it kind of does, because I really wanted to play here,” Azarenka replied. “So, I don’t want to stop. I want to keep playing.”
Davis takes advantage
Azarenka’s misfortune was good fortune for Lauren Davis, who got into the tournament via Azarenka’s exit.
Azarenka’s withdrawal allowed Davis to play one of the day’s most dramatic matches, defeating Madison Keys 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), as Davis overcame three match points.
Some added flames and intrigue to that match is that both Davis, 19, and Keys, 18, reside in Boca Raton.
Davis almost went skipping off the court whooping and hollering after advancing.
“I’m so ecstatically happy,” said Davis, who advanced to the third round. “I came here this morning with like no hope left that I was going to get in [the tournament]. I just hoped and wished and I prayed that I got in. I didn’t care if I won or lost. I was so grateful for the opportunity to play.
“I didn’t think there was any chance. I was so shocked when I got the call, but I was so happy.”