Serena return delayed

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  • Published 13.05.11

Paris: Former world No. 1 Serena Williams pulled out of the French Open on Thursday as she could not recover in time after undergoing two foot operations and then suffering from blood clots in her lung.

The winner of 13 Grand Slam singles titles, including the 2002 French Open, was replaced in the main draw by Japan’s Junri Namigata, organisers said. Her sister, Venus Williams, remains a doubt too, as she has not played since January because of a hip injury. Venus lost her only final at Roland Garros to Serena. The sisters own a combined 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

Two-time finalist Russian Dinara Safina — due to a back injury — and Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky — due to an injured left ankle — have also pulled out, and will be replaced by Britain’s Anne Keothavong and Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili respectively.

David Nalbandian was out of the men’s tournament because of a virus, and was replaced by German player Daniel Brands.

French players Arnaud Clement, the 2001 Australian Open runner-up, Vincent Millot, Benoit Paire, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Guillaume Rufin and Maxime Texeira received wild cards for the men’s draw, along with Tim Smyczek of the United States and Bernard Tomic of Australia.

Wild cards for the women’s draw were given to French players Iryna Bremond, Stephanie Foretz-Gacon, Kristina Mladenovic, Pauline Parmentier, and Caroline Garcia.

American player Irina Falconi, and Australia's Casey Dellacqua also have wild cards, organizers said. Safina will miss the French Open after taking an indefinite break from tennis, the Russian said on Thursday.