Doha, Qatar – Venus Williams has withdrawn from next week's Qatar Open due to an ongoing lower back injury.

The 23rd-ranked Williams has been hampered by back problems since the Australian Open. She was forced to miss the Open GDF Suez tournament and will miss the upcoming Fed Cup match against Italy because of the injury.

Williams will be replaced by Andrea Hlavackova in the Qatar tournament.

Williams lost in straight sets to Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open, before losing in the quarter-finals of the doubles alongside younger sister Serena.

Serena Williams, who complained of back pain during her Australian Open quarterfinals loss to American Sloane Stephens, is scheduled to play in Qatar, as is top-ranked Victoria Azarenka. – Sapa-AP