ROME, April 30 (Reuters) - World number three Venus Williams has withdrawn from next month's Rome Masters, the WTA said on Wednesday.
Williams, who is competing this week in the Warsaw Cup in Poland, decided to pull out from the Rome event to avoid playing four consecutive tournaments prior to the French Open, the second grand slam of the season.
"I'm so disappointed to have to withdraw from Rome this year," Williams said in Warsaw. "I've been successful in Rome before, having won in 1999, so I was looking forward to returning to the tournament.
"I've always enjoyed playing in Rome because it is a great tournament in one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and) I plan on returning next year."
The Warsaw event is William's second consecutive tournament after the Fed Cup last week. She is also scheduled to play the German Open in Berlin next week.
Her withdrawal moves American Alexandra Stevenson into the main draw at the Rome Masters, which takes place from May 12-18.