PARIS -- Serena Williams pulled out of the French Open hours
before the draw Friday because of an ankle injury.
Williams sprained her left ankle in early April and said she still has not recovered enough to play this Grand Slam event, which starts Monday.
"I am very disappointed to be forced to withdraw," Williams said, according to the WTA. "Roland Garros is a fantastic global event with great fans, and I look forward to participating in next year's tournament."
Williams, the 2002 French Open champion, won the Australian Open this year for her seventh Grand Slam title. She was replaced by Russia's Elena Dementieva as the fourth-seeded player in the draw.
Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport, who rarely plays well on clay and has never gotten past the semifinals at the French, is seeded first and starts against Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik.
No. 2 Maria Sharapova opens against fellow Russian Evgenia Linetskaya, with the winner going against one of two wild cards. Sharapova is seeded to play No. 10 Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium in the quarterfinals.
Williams missed the German Open in early May because of her injury. She returned to competition at the Italian Open on May 11, but moved poorly in a 7-6 (2), 6-1 loss to Francesca Schiavone in her first match. Williams called it the worst loss of her career.
Williams, ranked No. 4, is 15-4 this year and has reached at least the quarterfinals in her last four appearances at Roland Garros.