ROME (AP) — Forget all that speculation about Serena Williams considering retirement after her emotional hand-to-heart gesture upon her Australian Open exit three months ago. Williams says she has been practicing “very intensely” on clay courts and is ready to “start fresh” in her pursuit of Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles. Williams is preparing to return at this week’s Italian Open to gear up for Roland Garros later this month. She says her recent training program included a block of time on clay courts back home in the United States followed by 2½ weeks on the red dirt at the French academy run by her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.


More From 1460 ESPN