Injured Azarenka withdraws from Miami

(Reuters) - Victoria Azarenka announced on Thursday she is withdrawing from next week's Sony Open in Miami because of a foot injury. The Belarussian has been plagued by a problem with her left foot for the past month but played through the pain. Now, however, she says she needs to take a break to get it healed. "I love playing in the U.S. and my results in the past were also great. But it's now been over a year that it seems bad luck has been following me," she said in a statement released by the Women's Tennis Association. "I couldn't play in Miami last year with a problem in my ankle and now this with my foot. It is time for me to think about my recovery and I will work hard for that." Azarenka's foot problems flared up at the Australian Open in January, where she was attempting to win the title for the third year in a row. She was beaten by Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals and did not play again until this week's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where she lost her opening match to Lauren Davis. The Sony Open, one of the biggest tournaments outside the grand slams, has long been one of Azarenka's favorite events. She won the title in 2009, beating Serena Williams in the final, then again in 2011 when she defeated Maria Sharapova. (Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Peter Rutherford)