Citing a bad right elbow, 2-time defending Rome champion Serena Williams has decided to withdraw from Rome ahead of her third round match with fellow American Christina McHale.
“It was not an easy decision, I talked to my coach who said it would not be a smart thing to play,” Serena said. “I hate quitting. But this is not quitting, it’s just making a better decision.
“My elbow injury started in Madrid, I was not serving with my hardest. I have to be able to hit my shots with a lot of confidence and when you’re injured you do not have that much confidence. It’s so important to have that in any match.
“I don’t think it will impact me in Paris. If I continue to play it will and I could have a situation on my hands and could impact my chances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.”
Serena 25-1 with her lone loss last week in Madrid to Petra Kvitova.
The 33-year-old Serena has now pulled out mid-event three times in her last six tournament events (2014 Beijing, 2015 Indian Wells), an alarmingly high percentage.
Serena will go to the French Open as the top seed and overwhelming favorite.
McHale, who gets the walkover, beat Sara Errani yesterday. The withdrawal was the second of the day after Andy Murray pulled out.
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