Serena and Venus Williams accept wildcards to play in Parma

On the back of her early Rome exit, Serena is set to continue her clay preparation at Emilia Romagna Open in Parma, Italy.

Serena Williams in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/@serenawilliams)

The 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams have accepted wildcards for next week’s WTA 250 event in Parma, Italy. However, World No.6 Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the Emilia Romagna Open due to continuing illness. A few days ago, Serena lost 7-6, 7-5 to Nadia Podoroska in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia while playing her first match since the Australian Open semifinals. On the other hand, Venus was forced to withdraw from Rome due to a left knee injury.

“Change of plans: Serena hasn’t been competing for a while, and we want to get as many matches under our belt as possible before Roland-Garros – so we’re adding the Emilia-Romagna Open to our schedule,” coach Patrick Mouratoglou wrote on social media.

After her recent loss, Serena hinted that she was prepared to add an extra tournament to her schedule in order to play more matches ahead of the French Open, which starts at the end of the month. “I’m just doing a lot of training, so it’s actually really good to get out and to play some matches,” Serena added.

“But I usually don’t take this much time off on a clay court season. Usually, I play a Charleston or a Madrid or somewhere. So my season doesn’t usually start this late on clay. But the training isn’t for nothing, so I know that it’s just a matter of time. I have been training for months, but it feels definitely different on clay to make that last adjustment.”

The Williams sisters join a field that also has another American Coco Gauff. The teenager enjoyed an excellent run in Rome. She reached the semifinals before losing to the eventual winner Iga Swiatek, who defeated Karolina Pliskova in a lopsided final. “I figure it will be best to stay in Italy after Rome,” Gauff had earlier said.

The American teenager also went on to explain why staying in Italy will be a good thing amid the coronavirus pandemic. “After this tournament, I can go straight there, not have to worry too much about the restrictions of the COVID and everything,” she added.

They join a field that also has other American players like Madison Keys, Jessica Pegula, and Sloane Stephens.

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