Serena Williams' French Open ranking sparks mother of all tennis controversies

Doug Mendoza
May 26, 2018

Cape Town - Serena Williams' return to grand slam tennis was dealt a huge blow on Monday when Roland Garros organisers announced they will not give the three-time champion a seeding.

Williams, who will be playing her first Grand Slam since giving birth last September, has played just four matches on the WTA Tour this year and has not featured at all since Miami in March.

William has won the French Open more than any current player, and last year's champion, Jelena Ostapenko, is looking forward to her return.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) confirmed on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) that its seedings would be based on the latest WTA rankings.

'Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this week's world ranking'.

And while Williams is able to enter eight tournaments a year with a protected ranking - a system that allows players sidelined with pregnancy or long-term injuries to use their ranking at the start of their absence - she can not be seeded in Paris under current regulations.

Williams has won Wimbledon six times but missed last year's tournament while she was on maternity leave.

Several of Williams' rivals were critical of the rule that doesn't protect a ranking when a player takes maternity leave. "She was No. 1 so she deserves seeding".

"It's always special when I come back to Paris where I have had so many wonderful moments".

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The Tennis star also claimed on Twitter that she still gets tested twice a week for drugs and anti-doping.

Williams, who travelled to Paris after attending the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in London on Saturday, opted not to play at the Madrid Open or the Internazionali d'Italia in the buildup to the second major of the season, instead training at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy.

Williams is in the top half of the draw, which is led by No. 1 seed Simona Halep. It's normal to have protected ranking.

On his way to triumphs in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome on his beloved clay, the 31-year-old recently set the men's record for most consecutive tennis sets won.

"Not just for her but for the other women who could play her in the first round".

"It's not as if she left because of injury and lost her passion for the game", Blake said. "The rule is now under further review as part of our 2019 rules process".

"I try to play the same way, play the same way over a longer period of time, which will be in Paris", he said.

"As always, we remain committed to reviewing the evolving needs of our players and are very supportive of those players returning from pregnancy to the tour".

A climb back up the WTA rankings should make for a less trying ordeal, but Williams apparently has quite an ascent to make before she again gets the benefit of a seeding.

Other reports by GizPress

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