By the time Rome begins it would have been 81 days since Serena Williams played a tennis match, the last match ended in defeat to Naomi Osaka and a warm embrace with the Melbourne crowd and an emotional press conference led to questions whether she would be back down under.
Injury has meant that we haven’t seen the former world number one since her Melbourne exit, the plan was to go to Miami but a tooth problem and dental surgery forced the American out of the competition.
We do know that Serena has arrived in France recently and has been hitting the dirt at her coach Patrick’s academy in Nice. As far as we know the intention is to play in Rome however, we have not seen Serena in Rome since she won in 2016.
Serena was due to play in Rome in 2016 and her first match would have been against sister Venus but withdrew with an injury.
In her last three appearances at Roland Garros we have seen Serena go out before the quarter finals and in those appearances has turned up without playing a warm-up event on the clay.
There are some early concerns, a video on her social media showed Serena after practice talking about her Achilles, the video did get the whole sentence but it sounded like:
“I think it’s manageable, it’s my achilles that hurts”
With or without a potential achilles problem is just a warm-up event in Rome enough for Serena to be a contender in Paris?
I would love to see Serena pick up Grand Slam title No.24 but I just don’t see it happening, right now we are seeing the top finding their form on the clay and I just don’t think one trip to Rome will suffice.
Those I would have in a contenders circle would be Barty, Halep, I’d also throw in Muguruza and Swiatek and would like to also see Naomi crack the clay this year!
I never rule Serena out of anything, she has surprised us many of time and you would be a fool to rule her out, her consistency in majors is exceptional but it’s that final hurdle which has proved to be a stumbling block of late.