Serena Williams pulls out of Italian Open

Eleanor Crooks

Former world No.1 Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week's Italian Open in Rome.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 winner has pulled out of, having also decided not to play this week in Madrid.

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.

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on the tournament's Twitter feed read: "We are so sad to announce that @serenawilliams, a 4-time Champion in Rome, has withdrawn from #ibi18.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 is some doubt over whether Williams will play later this month at the French Open. If she makes her grand slam comeback at Roland Garros, it will be without having played a match on clay since 2016.