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Injured Azarenka pulls out of Madrid, Rome

(Reuters) - World number four Victoria Azarenka's French Open preparations have suffered a heavy blow, with the Belarusian pulling out of claycourt tournaments in Madrid and Rome as she continues her recovery from a foot injury.

Since reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, the 24-year-old has played only one tournament, at Indian Wells last month where she was beaten in her first match and clearly hampered by injury.

"Hey everybody, unfortunately I won't be competing in Madrid and Rome this year," she said in a video linked to a post on her Twitter account.

Azarenka's problems with her left foot flared up at the Australian Open in January, where she was attempting to win the title for the third year in a row.

Missing the May 3-11 Madrid Open and the May 12-18 tournament in Rome leaves her with little time to gain match fitness ahead of Roland Garros, which kicks off from May 25.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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