Serena Williams Makes Her 2016 Clay Debut This Week In Rome
by Tom Gainey | May 9th, 2016, 10:16 am
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With her French Open title defense just around the corner, Serena Williams is back on the tennis court this week. The world No. 1 has been fighting an illness the last few weeks, but Serena says she’s ready to go in Rome.

“I feel pretty good,” Serena said Sunday. “I wasn’t feeling really good for the past several weeks and even the past few days. But right now I’m better. I will see how I’m doing when I step on the court for the first time, but overall I think I’m feeling a lot better.”

This is Serena’s first clay match of the season after missing Madrid and the April events. In fact, she’s only played two events since her stunning loss to Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open. She lost her last match to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Miami. But the 34-year-old isn’t worried about her lack of match play.

“I have played here and I have played in Madrid maybe one match, and then I played here the full tournament,” Serena said. “Every year I only play one tournament before Australia, done okay there. So I’d like to think positive.

“I don’t play anything thinking I’m going to lose. I always just play thinking I’m going to do the best I can. For me, that’s winning.”

With an eye on the Olympics, Serena and sister Venus also got back together for a rare doubles appearance today in Rome.

“We haven’t played doubles in a while. Obviously we would love to play in the Olympics,” Serena added. “I love playing with Venus. She’s the best partner, and hopefully she feels the same about me. We make a great team. The doubles teams have gotten really good, so it’s — we look forward to it.

“We have done well on clay. We have won Roland Garros a cup of times. We have won a few clay court tournaments. Hopefully we’ll be able to at least win a couple of matches here, just shake off the dust and keep playing.”

Unfortunately for the Williams sisters, their return was cut short in a 61, 75 loss to Klepac/Srebotnik.

In singles, Serena has won the Rome title two of the last three years. She hasn’t won a title since Cincinnati last summer.

Maria Sharapova beat Carla Saurez Navarro in the 2015 final.

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