Russia's figure skating star Evgenia Medvedeva said Thursday her withdrawal from next week's world championships had hit her "hard".
The two-time world champion will miss her clash with compatriot Alina Zagitova in Milan after a recurrence of the right foot injury that sidelined her for two months late last year.
"Pulling out of a competition is always a hard time for me," the 18-year-old told Russian TV on Thursday.
"It's not the first event that I've missed this year. But it will be much more difficult (for me) to sit on the sofa and watch it all on television.
"The decision has been taken because of the health reasons. Doctor said I need to recover for another couple of months."
Medvedeva will miss her rematch with Zagitova, who beat her to gold at last month's Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Her foot problem forced her out of December's Grand Prix Finals, wno by Zagitova.
"She had to fight painful feelings while skating at the Olympics. After returning from Korea, pain in the foot increased," a Russian figure skating federation statement announced this week.
"After the medical examination last week, doctors said that Medvedeva must strictly limit the high acute loads on the foot which occur when performing most jumping elements to avoid possible surgical intervention.2
She is due to be sidelined for up to two months.
The absence of Medvedeva in Italy makes her training partner and friend Zagitova clear favourite for the women's title.
The 15-year-old claimed Olympic gold by a mere 1.31 points from Medvedeva.
At the European championships in January Zagitova also dethroned 2016 and 2017 champion Medvedeva to be crowned European women's figure skating champion in Moscow.