Knee injury rules Azarenka out of Wimbledon


World number six Victoria Azarenka has pulled out of Wimbledon after failing to recover from the knee injury that cut her French Open short.

Injuries wrecked both 2014 and 2015 for the Belarussian, with a third consecutive year now threatening to go the same way for the two-time major winner.

Azarenka had three WTA Tour titles in the bag by early April as she enjoyed a stunning start to the year, yet a back injury hampered her clay-court preparations before she was forced to retire hurt in a first-round encounter with Karin Knapp at Roland Garros.

A Wimbledon statement confirmed: "Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the Ladies' Singles Championships 2016 due to a knee injury."

Azarenka's withdrawal could be followed by that of third seed Simona Halep, who has pulled out of warm-up events due to an Achilles problem.

The men's draw has already been hit with the high-profile withdrawal of Rafael Nadal due to a wrist injury.