ROME, Italy - Former World No.1 Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia due to an Achilles injury.

“I regretfully must withdraw from The Internazionali BNL d'Italia due to an Achilles strain," Williams said in a statement. "I’m so humbled by the continuous support from my fans in Rome and I look forward to making my return soon.”

The four-time Rome champion returned to action earlier this summer at the Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, and reached the semifinals of the US Open, where she took a medical timeout for an Achilles injury before bowing out to fellow former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka in three sets.

"I just was stretching," she explained after the match. "I ran for a shot, and off that first step that I took, it was a long point. It wasn't my ankle, it was actually my Achilles. It just overstretched. It was pretty intense. Then that was that."

Williams, who will be replaced in the main draw by an alternate, joins two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu on the withdrawal list, the latter citing a continued knee injury.

"Unfortunately, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Rome this year," Kvitova said. It is always one of my favorite places to visit and I really look forward to being back in Italy next year. I wish the tournament every success and congratulate them on all their hard work to put on a safe event."

Top-ranked Aussie Ashleigh Barty also withdrew from Rome earlier this week, as part of a larger announcement that she would shut down her season due to COVID-19 concerns and travel restrictions.

Former World No.1 Kim Clijsters will also sit out Rome and Roland Garros, making the announcement on social media Monday evening. Clijsters last played at the US Open, where she took a narrow defeat to Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round.

"The time in NYC showed how much progress I’ve made and also what I still need to work on to get me where I want to be," she wrote. "Not sure where I’ll play next but will let you know soon."

 

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