Beyond the Baseline

Venus Williams withdraws from the Madrid Open with an illness

Venus-Williams-1 Venus Williams also withdrew from the Malaysian Open two weeks ago. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Venus Williams has withdrawn from next week's Madrid Open, citing a continuing illness.

Ranked No. 32, Williams is the second high-profile withdrawal from Madrid, a WTA Premier Mandatory tournament. Victoria Azarenka announced last week that she would miss the event because of a foot injury that has sidelined her since the BNP Paribas Open in early March.

Williams started the year strong by making the final of the ASB Classic and winning the Dubai Championships on Feb. 22.  But she's played only two tournaments since then, losing in the round of 16 at both the Sony Open and Family Circle Cup.

Her next scheduled tournament is the Italian Open, which begins in Rome on May 10.