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Serena looking to turn the clock back in Rome before Roland Garros bid

AFP  |  Rome 

returns from in Rome next week looking to get back to winning ways as she prepares her bid to match Margaret Court's record of major singles titles at later this month.

Rome will be Williams's fourth tournament of the season and the first since being forced to withdraw from in April due to a The 37-year-old American -- now ranked 11th -- has completed just seven matches this year, also withdrawing from Indian Wells in March with

There are now doubts that the veteran can add to her tally of 23 Grand Slams, something which has so far proved beyond her since returning last year after taking time out following the birth of her first child.

Her last Grand Slam singles title was won at the in 2017, where she was pregnant, breaking a tie with for the most in the professional era. Her win in moved her one behind Australian Court's record of 24 major singles titles.

After giving birth to her daughter in September 2017, Serena made her return to Grand Slam at last year's French Open, where she reached the fourth round.

She reached the finals of and the US Open, suffering a meltdown in Flushing Meadows, as she smashed her racquet and called the umpire a "thief" and a "liar" in a temper tantrum after losing to

More drama followed in the quarter-finals of this year's Australian Open, when she suffered a spectacular collapse in a three-sets defeat by

Williams led 5-1 in the decider before failing to convert four match points and losing six games in a row.

She has admitted that it has been tougher than expected to get back winning after her maternity leave.

"From day one, I expect to go out and, quite frankly, to win. That hasn't happened. But I do like my attitude," she said.

"I like that I don't want to go out there and say: 'I expect to lose because I had a year off. I've been playing for 10 months. I'm not supposed to win.' I don't have that attitude." Rome is a special place for Williams who met her husband in the Eternal City in May 2015, a year when she withdrew from the tournament with an

- Serena v Venus rematch? -


A four-time Rome winner Williams last won at the in 2016 defeating her compatriot Madison Keys in a straight-set final.

She also won the Rome title in 2002, 2013 and 2014.

This year she is in the top half of the draw along with world number one Naomi Osaka, Kiki Bertens, and

Three of the four semi-finalists from are in the top half, along with winner and runner-up

Williams will open against a and could face older sister in the second round.

and Venus meet in Rome, it will be their first meeting on European clay in nearly 17 years.

Their last meeting on red clay came at final. Two-time defending champion comes in short on form after a but could have an opportunity as she plays in the bottom half of the draw.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 12 2019. 18:06 IST