Injured Kim Clijsters pulls out of Italian Open

Kim Clijsters
Clijsters has not played since losing to Victoria Azarenka in Florida in March

Kim Clijsters has failed to recover from an ankle injury in time to play in next week's Italian Open but is back in training ahead of the French Open.

The Belgian, ranked two in the world after winning the Australian Open in January, strained ligaments while at her cousin's wedding last month.

Clijsters, 27, is now looking to the French Open, which starts on 22 May.

"I have been able to pick up a tennis racket in my hands for the first time in five weeks," she told her websiteexternal-link.

"We are taking it day by day. I will not in any case play any tournament in May. We will focus on being ready for Roland Garros. I can only say that we hope everything goes well and that I have trained sufficiently to be in Paris."

American Venus Williams has already pulled out the Italian Open with the hip injury that has kept her sidelined since January.

Serena Williams remains absent following two foot operations and then suffering blood clots in her lung, while world number three Vera Zvonareva did not enter the Rome tournament.