Serena Williams withdraws from Italian Open

In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 file photo, United States' Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. (Aaron Favila/AP)

ROME — Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Italian Open, saying she needs more time to be “100 per cent ready to compete.”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 a first-round loss to Naomi Osaka in March at the Miami Open.

Catherine Bellis takes Williams’ place in the Rome draw.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.