Serena Williams set to return from injury at Italian Open

FILE - In this Thursday, May 12, 2016 file photo, Roger Federer of Switzerland returns the ball to Dominic Thiem of Austria during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome. Federer’s announced schedule has him playing the Madrid Open next week as his only warmup for the French Open, which starts May 26. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, May 15, 2016 file photo, Serena Williams poses with the trophy after beating Madison Keys 7-6, 6-3, in the final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome. Serena Williams is set to return from injury at the upcoming Italian Open. Tournament director Sergio Palmieri tells The Associated Press that he spoke with Williams’ representative “four-five days ago” and that “she has already reserved her rooms and should be here a few days early” for the May 13-19 event. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

ROME — Serena Williams is set to return from injury at the upcoming Italian Open.

Tournament director Sergio Palmieri told The Associated Press on Friday that he spoke with Williams' agent and that Williams "has already reserved her rooms and should be here a few days early" for the May 13-19 event.

Williams has not played since withdrawing from her third-round match at the Miami Open in March with a previously undisclosed left knee injury. She hasn't played in Rome since winning her fourth title at the clay-court event in 2016, when she beat Madison Keys in the final.

Roger Federer's status, meanwhile, remains a question mark.

Federer's announced schedule has him playing the Madrid Open next week as his only warmup for the French Open, which starts May 26.

The 37-year-old Federer skipped the clay season the last two years.

"Federer is entered to play, which is different from the last two years when he withdrew ahead of time," Palmieri said. "So the fact that he's entered means it's possible for him to play. It's impossible to predict, though. ... Knowing him, it's more probable that he'll come only if he's playing well."

While he is a four-time runner-up, Federer has never won the Italian Open — making it one of the few significant trophies he hasn't claimed.

"Playing three consecutive tournaments on clay at his age is complicated," Italian tennis federation president Angelo Binaghi said. "But I think it also depends on his results in Madrid."

The only top men who have withdrawn from Rome are sixth-ranked Kevin Anderson and 16th-ranked Milos Raonic, who are both injured.

The only top woman to pull out so far was three-time champion Maria Sharapova, who is recovering from a right shoulder injury.

The Italian federation said 1999 champion Venus Williams and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka received wild cards to the tournament according to the WTA rule for former top-20 players. Another wild card was given to Sara Errani.

The men's wild cards are Matteo Berrettini, last week's Hungarian Open champion, and Andreas Seppi and Lorenzo Sonego.

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More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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