Victoria Azarenka confirmed on Sunday that her participation in the 2014 season is over, due to a persistent foot injury.
The Belarusian has pulled out of the Wuhan Open in China, having already missed five months of action this year with the same injury.
The 25-year-old’s world ranking has dropped to 25th, her lowest position since 2008, having missed the clay court season and failing to win any of the eight tournaments she has played in this year.
Fall in the rankings
Her ranking has fallen 23 positions since the start of the year, and she has not managed to make the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in a calendar year for the first time since 2010.
The two-time Australian Open champion did reach the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier in September as the 16th seed, where she lost to Russian Ekaterina Makarova.
Despite being scheduled to play in Wuhan and Beijing before the end of the year, the former world number one will now not play until the start of the 2015 season, ruling her out of qualifying for the WTA Championships in Singapore in October.
She announced in an official statement on her Facebook page: "It has been a very tough year for me.
"I have been trying my best to improve day in and day out by pushing and pushing, but that does not appear to be the best approach for me right now.
"I will use this time to work on making a full recovery and take care of my body to compete at my best next season.
"I always believe that everything happens for a reason, but it is up to you to make the best out of it, and that is exactly what I am going to do."
A change in fortune
The year had started relatively positively for Azarenka, as she reached the final of the Brisbane International in January, where she lost to top seed Serena Williams, before relinquishing her Australian Open title, as she was beaten in the quarter-finals by Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.
She competed in just two matches between the Melbourne Grand Slam and Wimbledon, as her foot injury forced her to miss the French Open, and she was knocked out in the first round in Indian Wells and Eastbourne.
Azarenka still seemed to lack match fitness at the All England Club, as she exited the grass court tournament in the second round, losing to the unseeded Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, which meant she had failed to reach the third round at SW19 for the second consecutive year.
Even though she managed to find more consistent form at the US Open, her ranking still dropped by a further eight positions, as she was not able to match her run to the final the previous year.
Giving herself the time off to recover will leave Azarenka with a three-month off season, before she will set her focus to winning the Australian Open for the third time in January next year, though it is likely that she will have a tough draw for that tournament, as she could be in the bottom eight seeds or even unseeded.
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