Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week's Italian Open. This means Serena will not play in a major clay-court warmup tournament, leading into the French Open. The American chose not to play this week at the Mutua Madrid Open in order to train more to work on her fitness. Teenager CiCi Bellis replaces Serena in the Rome draw, giving the teenager a chance to get some more clay court matches under her belt
No Tournaments Since March
It's been a couple of months since Serena has hit the courts. She formally returned to tour-level tennis at Indian Wells in March. She defeated Zarina Diyas and before going out to sister Venus Williams. Following Indian Wells, she played in her home tournament in Miami. There, she went down to BNP Paribas Open champion Naomi Osaka in the first round.
French Open In Doubt
With her withdrawal from both Madrid and Rome as well as choosing not to play in Stuttgart, there is doubt whether Serena will play at the French Open. The three-time champion at Roland Garros will now only have the week before the French Open to get some matches under her belt before the second major of the year.