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, a 23-time major singles winner, is expected to
play in her first grand slam tournament since giving birth to her daughter last
While Williams was eligible to enter Roland Garros under the
WTA's protected or "special" ranking rule, it was down to the
organisers of the tournament to give her a seed, something they ultimately
neglected to do.
The French Tennis Federation said in a statement that:
"This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking
of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking.”
"Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this week's
The decision comes despite several top-ranked players
including Maria Sharapova, Elina Svitolina and world number one Simona Halep
speaking out in support of giving Williams a seeding.
Williams was ranked number one when she left the WTA Tour
last year after winning the 2017 Australian Open to give birth.
She is currently ranked 453.
Without being seeded, Williams is likely to come up against
high-ranking players in the early rounds.
The WTA has been considering changing the rules to protect
players returning from maternity leave, but the earliest any chances could come
into effect is next year.