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Serena Williams withdraws from Qatar, Indian Wells events because of a back injury

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Top-ranked Serena Williams withdrew Friday from the Qatar Open and the Indian Wells event because of a back injury sustained last month in the Australian Open.

The Qatar Open begins Monday in Doha, and the BNP Paribas Open is March 3-16 in Indian Wells, Calif.

In a statement released by the Indian Wells event, Williams said: "After careful consideration, I will not return to the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open this year. I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the tournament."

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