Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Serena Williams pulls out of Rome with Achilles injury

Serena Williams, of the United States, has her ankle taped by a trainer during a medical timeout during a semifinal match of the US Open tennis championships against Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II).

Serena Williams, of the United States, has her ankle taped by a trainer during a medical timeout during a semifinal match of the US Open tennis championships against Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II).

Serena Williams has pulled out of the Internazionali d'Italia tournament in Rome, citing an Achilles injury.

The US Open semi-finalist entered the WTA Tour event with the intention of gaining match practice on clay before the upcoming French Open.

That delayed grand slam takes place from September 27 to October 11 in Paris, switched from its original May start due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Williams fell short in her bid to land a record-equalling 24th grand slam when she was edged out by Victoria Azarenka in New York this week, when she needed medical assistance for the Achilles pain.

She stressed afterwards that she intended to play the French Open, but the Rome event, which begins on Monday, has now been scratched from her plans.

Former world number one Williams said in a statement released by the WTA: "I regretfully must withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia due to an Achilles strain."

Petra Kvitova and Bianca Andreescu will also be absent from the tournament after the WTA announced their withdrawals.

Simona Halep is among those returning to action, however, with the world number two having opted to miss the US Open due to concerns related to the pandemic.

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