Serena Williams pulls out of the Italian Open in Rome
Last Updated: 09/05/18 4:26pm
Former world No 1 Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week's Italian Open in Rome.
It is the second successive event the 23-time Grand Slam champion has pulled out of having also decided not to play in the Madrid Open this week.
Williams made her comeback in March, six months after giving birth to baby Olympia, but focused on training following tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami as she attempted to return to top shape.
The 36-year-old has not been seen on the WTA Tour since losing to Naomi Osaka in the first round in Miami.
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on the tournament's Twitter feed read: "We are so sad to announce that @serenawilliams, a 4-time Champion in Rome, has withdrawn from #ibi18.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?"
There must now be some doubt over whether Williams will play at the French Open later this month. Were she to make her Grand Slam comeback at Roland Garros, it would be without having played a match on clay since 2016.
WATCH: Novak's smash howler!
Novak Djokovic hit a shocking smash against Kei Nishikori at the Madrid Open
The Masters 1000 Series continues throughout this week with our coverage of the ATP Madrid Open on Sky Sports Arena. Check listings for starting times.
Keep up to date with the latest on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation.
Tennis updates straight to your phone
How to receive all the latest tennis news straight to your mobile
Never miss the big kick-off or have to deal with interrupted games or low quality streams with a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass. You'll get exclusive coverage of the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL, EFL Cup and loads more starting from just £7.99. No contract.