Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Serena unseeded for French Open return

Serena unseeded for French Open return

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.

Now, thanks to the characteristic cussedness that has served her well since her tennis odyssey began in Russian Federation before being honed in Florida, the 31-year-old Sharapova is back in the top 30 and guaranteed a seeded place when the 2018 French Open starts on Sunday.

However, this week, former world number five Bouchard, a Wimbledon runner-up in 2014, is down at 167 in the rankings and having to play qualifiers at Roland Garros.

Maria Sharapova who has been one of William's rivals over the years is in favour of the WTA changing its rules so players like Serena Williams don't get punished for taking time off to start a family. "It's such an incredible effort for a woman to come back from physically, emotionally".

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Williams has slumped to 453 in the world, and her ranking has not been protected meaning the American icon could land a tough draw in the first round. She could play Halep in the first round.

Current rules covering maternity leave and injuries allow a protected or "special" ranking to be utilised for entry into tournaments but not for seeding purposes regardless of the reason for a player's absence.

The pressure of retaining her crown could weigh heavily, and she has yet to win a title this year, while two-time finalist Halep will be eager to make amends for last year's surprise defeat.

Stephens is more of a power player and often left frustrated on clay, even though her biography on the WTA's website says the dirt is her favourite surface.

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"At Wimbledon, which runs from July 2-15, the All England Club are likely to seed Serena using its unique system that favours grass-court specialists, given she is a seven-time champion". She was not seeded at tournaments in Indian Wells, California, and Miami, and compiled two wins and two losses. She was not seeded at either tournament. " ... The time she lost after the delivery, with all the medical issues she had to go through, was missing".

Unlike the men's seedings which use the ATP rankings in conjunction with a formula based on results on grasscourts, the women's seedings can be tweaked on the agreement of a committee.

French Open organisers announced on Monday they will not give Williams a seeding.

"Proud to participate to keep the sport clean". But I feel like I always had a chance, and they kind of slip away, all the matches somehow, so even if it's a little bit disappointing, I feel like I was there and I had my chances.

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