Serena's dog-food saga sets tongues wagging

ROME • Serena Williams said she will not be eating dog food again, after giving in to temptation, and coming close to upsetting her plans for a fourth Italian Open crown in Rome.

The American beat compatriot Christina McHale 7-6 (9-7), 6-1 to set up a quarter-final meeting with Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova.

A year after retiring following her opening match due to an elbow injury, Williams is looking for her first triumph in Rome since 2014 as she builds form ahead of the defence of her French Open title in Paris later this month.

But it did not take long for talk to turn to her off-court antics.

On social media, Williams claimed to have eaten "a spoonful" of her pet Yorkshire terrier's tasty-looking salmon and rice dish at her Rome hotel, telling her followers: "Don't judge me."

In the video, posted on the popular Snapchat platform, she said that the food tasted "a little bit like a house-cleaner thing" and admitted she needed an urgent trip to the bathroom hours later.

Williams replied to queries on Thursday by saying: "I'm not the most serious person off the court. On the court I am, but off the court I don't have a serious bone in my body."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Serena's dog-food saga sets tongues wagging'. Print Edition | Subscribe