Serena Williams withdraws from Italian Open


ROME — Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Italian Open, saying she needs more time to be “100 percent ready to compete.”

The tournament made the announcement via Twitter.

Williams returned to the tour briefly this year after a 14-month absence to give birth to her daughter.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion also withdrew from this week’s Madrid Open, and sitting out Rome puts her status for the French Open, which starts May 27, in doubt.

Williams, a four-time Italian Open champion, has not played since her first-round loss to Naomi Osaka in March at the Miami Open.

Fellow American Catherine Bellis takes Williams’ place in the Rome draw.

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