May 22, 2015 / 4:09 PM / 2 years ago

Rome withdrawal was right decision, says Serena

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her semi-final match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, May 8, 2015.Andrea Comas

PARIS (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams believes she was right to withdraw from the Italian Open to rest a sore elbow and is now ready to start her quest for a 20th grand slam title at the French Open.

The American withdrew before her third-round match in Rome last week because of a right elbow injury, avoiding the same kind of mistake that hampered her Roland Garros chances last year.

"I think it was definitely the right decision. Last year I almost didn't play Rome," Williams told a news conference on Friday.

"I was like, Oh, I probably shouldn't play. Ended up playing and ended up winning. Came to Paris and I couldn't even really practice until like Friday-ish. That was really tough."

Williams, who will face a qualifier in the first round, feels she is now in good shape as she looks to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup for the third time.

"I'm just feeling physically a lot better. Had a tougher time to get ready than I thought, but I have been doing a lot of cardio and getting myself ready in that aspect," she explained.

"Then I was able to play a little better today in practice. I was worried about (my elbow), but lately I have been really getting some really good treatment that has been able to alleviate it and make the symptoms go down substantially.

"So I feel a lot better going forward in the tournament and just getting through it."

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer

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