World no.1 Serena Williams has not played competitively since winning the Australian Open at the end of January and it now seems she might not return until the year’s second Grand Slam, the French Open which begins May 23.

Serena, sidelined with a right knee injury for the last two months, has not entered the Internazionali BNL d’Italia which begins in Rome on May 3.

Although this week Serena asked tournament director Sergio Palmieri to keep a wild card place open for her in case she makes a quicker recovery than expected, she is set to be the only absentee from the world’s top ten at the WTA Tour’s fourth Premier event of the year.

Serena has already missed the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the ongoing Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. She was scheduled to play next week’s in Marbella but withdrew but organizers of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, beginning May 11, are still optimistic.

Palmieri reported all of the top men's players are expected, with the exception of sixth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, who is out for a month with a broken left wrist.


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