• WTA Tour

Safina out for the season

ESPN staff
August 2, 2011
Dinara Safina has not played since May © Getty Images

Former world No. 1 Dinara Safina has seen her 2011 season cut short by a persistent back injury.

The Russian began the year with three successive first-round defeats, most notably against Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open, but was showing signs of improvement by April, reaching a semi-final in Morocco.

However, she has not played since early May, and has slumped to world No. 68 after succumbing to injury.

"I'm sorry to report that my back is still acting up and I will not be able to play until at least the end of the year," Safina said on her official website. "I don't know how long my time out is going to last because I don't want to torture myself and my body anymore."

Her absence means she will miss three of the four grand slams in 2011, including this month's US Open, where she was a semi-finalist in 2008.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.