Serena Williams may need to play “a few more matches” after shock defeat at Italian Open

Serena Williams

After suffering a shock second-round defeat to Nadia Podoroska in the Italian Open, Serena Williams has admitted she may need more matches under her belt in preparation for Roland Garros.

The 39-year-old made her long-awaited return to tennis in Rome this week, having been absent since this year’s Australian Open. Following this loss, however, the 23 time Grand Slam winner admitted that despite training regularly, it was hard to take this straight into a match scenario.

“I’ve been training for months, but it’s difficult on clay to make that last adjustment,” she revealed in her post-match press conference.

Indeed, given her time away from competition it’s no surprise that Williams struggled with a lack of rhythm and confidence with movement. With the French Open just two weeks away, the US star admitted that she may look to play some more games but will take some time to decide.

“Maybe I do need to play a few more matches. I’m going to figure that out with my team and my coach and see what we would like to do.”

Serena

While winning the French Open seems unlikely at that stage, former British tennis player Annabel Croft has stressed that Williams may already be looking ahead to Wimbledon. The third major of the year comes just two weeks after the conclusion of Roland Garros and could be her best chance of equalling Margaret Court’s all-time major record.

Speaking to GiveMeSport Women, Croft said: “Even if she doesn't do well at the French arena, she'll use the opportunity to play those matches heading towards the grass [season] which I think is her best chance of adding another Slam on to her tally and equalling this great number that is hanging over her head at the moment.”

It’s worth noting that Williams didn’t play terribly in her match against Podoroska. She converted three from three break-points and won just five points less than her opponent all-match. What she appeared to lack, though, was the clinical edge that has made her so hard to beat over the years.

The early exit this week is not ideal, but it is far from a disaster either. Williams has recovered from setbacks many times throughout her illustrious career and she’s not about to give up the fight just yet.

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