Venus will skip Doha next week

Venus Williams has pulled out of next week's Qatar Open, citing a lower back injury.

The world No. 23 and former top-ranked star has been slowed by the back problem since last month's Australian Open. She will also miss this week's USA-Itlay Fed Cup matchup because of the injury.

The oft-injured 32-year-old Williams lost to fellow former No. 1 Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the third round at the Aussie Open.

The Qatar event will feature current world No. 1 and reigning champion Victoria Azarenka and Williams' younger sister Serena.