During her press conference ahead of the start of the 2021 Italian Open, Serena Williams revealed that she is considering missing the Tokyo Olympics because of the travel restrictions in place at the event.
Serena Williams is considered by many to be the single-most prolific tennis player in the history of the Games. She has won four gold medals at the Olympics over her illustrious career - one in singles and three in women's doubles.
However, the 23-time Major winner has been giving some thought to sitting out this year's Olympics.
The Tokyo Games, scheduled to be held in July, will not allow international visitors and fans at the venue, including family members of the athletes. Against that background, Williams asserted during her presser that she could not afford to stay away from her daughter Alexis for the entirety of the event.
"I haven't really thought much about that," Serena Williams said. "That's a really good question. I haven't spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself. We're best friends. I have really been taking it one day at a time to a fault, and I definitely need to figure out my next moves."
"I feel good, I'm going to have some good matches here" - Serena Williams on her return to clay
Serena Williams was then probed about her return to tennis at the Italian Open, after having been away for nearly three months. Williams would be hoping to get her preparations for Roland Garros underway in Rome this week, since the WTA 1000 tournament is her only tune-up event before she leaves for Paris.
When asked about her training schedule before arriving at the Foro Italico, Serena Williams replied that she had been practicing regularly on clay to get into rhythm before she played any competitive matches.
"I trained for the past two and a half weeks at (coach) Patrick (Mouratoglou's) academy, and then training a lot on the clay in the United States with team members," Williams said. "We had an intense several weeks of training, very intense."
The three-time Italian Open winner could face either Laura Siegmund or Nadia Podoroska in her opener. She added that she was content with her current level and that she would be ready for the French Open in no time.
"I feel good. I'm in Rome," Williams said. "I'm going to have some good matches here, hopefully, and then I will be at another Grand Slam, which always makes me excited. So I think either way I'll be ready."
During the interaction, Serena Williams was also asked about the prospect of playing against top 10 players in Rome. The American admitted that facing top 10 opposition can be tough at times, but then pointed to the fact that she herself is ranked No. 8 - which would make the potential match-up less daunting.
"Everyone gears up for top 10 players, and so if I'm in the top 10 I will be ready. Am I? I don't even know where I am, but somewhere," Williams remarked.