Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from the upcoming Italian Open because of issues with her Achilles, according to organizers for the clay court event. The injury was one that bothered Williams during her semifinal exit at the US Open against eventual runner-up Victoria Azarenka.
"I regretfully must withdraw from the (Italian Open) due to an Achilles strain," Williams said. "I'm so humbled by the continuous support from my fans in Rome and I look forward to making my return soon."
The 39-year-old, who has won this precursor to the French Open four times in her career, had to call a full medical timeout while serving at 40-40, with Azarenka up 1-0 in the third set of her US Open semifinal match to get her ankle taped up. While she was able to return to the action, it was clear something was bothering her for the remainder of play.
Azarenka, who lost to Naomi Osaka in the US Open final on Saturday, will face off against Venus Williams in the first round of the tournament set in Rome.
The Italian Open is scheduled for Sept. 27 and was delayed from its original May date because of the coronavirus pandemic.