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Serena Withdraws In Madrid, Hopes To Be Ready For Roland Garros

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams MadridSerena Williams, USA
Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

MADRID (AFP) — Sluggish and injured Serena Williams lost her third consecutive clay match to crash out of the Madrid Masters after pulling the plug while trailing 4-6 to Francesca Schiavone in the first round Monday.

The exit of the second seed leaves Williams in a precarious position without a victory on the dirt heading into the May 24 start of Roland Garros.

"After the first set I did not want to risk anymore. I'm hoping to be ready for Roland Garros," she insisted.

Williams, who also lost in Marbella and last week in Rome and has suffered with thigh and knee injuries, effectively stayed on court for 45 minutes to avoid a 75,000 fine which the WTA would have imposed for failing to play the new tournament.

The sanction would have been imposed had she pulled out of the event and then not shown up on site for essentially a public relations appearance under the rules.

The multimillionairess has already lost several hundred thousand dollars in year-end bonus pool money as a result of refusing to compete at Indian Wells last March.

"I don't know about you, but 75,000 is a lot of money to me," said the winner of more than two million dollars in prize money so far this season.

"I'm redecorating a house and 75,000 is my furniture budget, some stairs...

"I can't just go writing cheques for 75,000 in this economy," added the ten-time Grand Slam champion, a 24-million-dollar woman over the course of her career.

Williams insisted with some bravado that she would aim to play both singles and doubles at the French Open, starting a week from Sunday.

Williams has not won a match since April 2 in a Miami semi-final over her sister Venus.

Posted by Shelia

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