Serena Williams pulls out of Italian Open

Serena Williams won't be playing this year at the Foro Italico, where she won the last of her four Italian titles in 2016.
AFP

Rome (AFP) – Former world number one Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Italian Open in Rome, organisers confirmed on Wednesday.

Last week the 23-time Grand Slam winner pulled out of the Madrid WTA event due to a fever.

The American tennis star made her comeback in February, six months after giving birth to baby Olympia, when she competed at Indian Wells and Miami, but has admitted she is struggling to get fully fit.

A statement on the tournament’s Twitter feed read: “We are so sad to announce that @serenawilliams, a 4-time Champion in Rome, has withdrawn from #ibi18.

“Obviously we can’t wait to see her again on Foro Italico’s red clay, perhaps in 2019?”

Williams has won the Rome title four times in 2002, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

Rome was also the city where she met her husband Alexis Ohanian, and also the city where he proposed.

Williams, 36, will now be a doubt for the French Open in Paris from May 27 to June 10. She has won the title three times, most recently in 2015.

She won the Australian Open while pregnant and returned in February alongside her sister Venus in a US Fed Cup first-round tie. She lost to Venus in the third round at Indian Wells and to Japan’s Naomi Osaka at Miami.

If she were to make her Grand Slam comeback at Roland Garros, it would be without having played a match on clay since 2016.

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