*On the mend from a lingering knee injury, top-ranked tennis star Serena Williams has asked for and received a wild-card entry for next month’s Italian Open.

Having been sidelined since her Australian Open title in January, Williams initiatlly decided not to enter the tournament in Rome, which begins May 3 and is a key clay-court prelude to the French Open.

But Tournament organizers announced the wild card for Williams on Tuesday, adding that nine of the top 10 women have entered, with No. 10 Kim Clijsters the only exception.

Williams won the Italian Open in 2002 en route to her only French Open title at Roland Garros.