Serena Williams withdraws from Madrid Open

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Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week's Madrid Open, saying she wasn't ready to compete.

American tennis star Serena Williams has pulled out of the Mutua Madrid Open as she believes she needs more work to practice on beaten clay before competing again on the surface.

The absence of the 2012 and 2013 women's champion was confirmed by tournament director, Manolo Santana on Thursday, two days before the tournament is scheduled to start.

"We lament Serena's absence and we hope she recovers soon. She is one of the great champions of our sport, she has always brought spectacle to the tournament and we hope to see her again in the future," said Santana.

The 36-year-old Williams has struggled for fitness and form in 2018 since returning to competition after becoming a mother.

Her vacancy will be filled by Coco Vandeweghe.

Williams will now set her sights on competing in Rome, which follows directly on from Madrid in the calendar.

Stanislaus Wawrinka and Jo Wilfred Tsonga will also miss out on the men's competition in Madrid due to injury.

The 2013 beaten finalist, Wawrinka is still struggling to recover from the knee operation he underwent in June 2017 and has not played since February.

Tsonga had an operation on his meniscus ligament in March and has confirmed that after missing Indian Wells and Miami, he will also be unable to play in Madrid or Rome.

These absences are added to those of Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who had previously stated they would not be in Madrid.

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