No seeding for Serena

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

The former world number one has been snubbed of a seeding by French Open organisers, who chose to make their seedings based on WTA rankings.

The 36-year-old Williams, victor of 23 Grand Slam titles, is ranked a lowly 453rd after returning to action this year following the birth of her daughter last September.

Williams, a three-time champion at the French Open, now has a tougher road to the final because there's a higher chance she'll have to play some of the game's best players early in the tournament.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) - the governing body of the women's tour - is considering a rule change which will add protected seedings, as well as protected rankings, for players returning from maternity leave but that won't come into effect until at least next year.

Williams has already benefited from this rule in the past as in 2011 she was ranked 25th before the start of Wimbledon but seeded seventh for the championships.

The French are allowing Serena to play because there is a Special Ranking Rule that allows players on maternity leave or players recovering suffered serious injuries to play in up to eight tournaments within a year after their recovery, according to a recent Washington Post article. "It's more than tennis", top-ranked Simona Halep said.

Without being seeded, Williams is likely to come up against high-ranking players in the early rounds.

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"I think it's more of a protection for women to have a life", Williams said.

Serena Williams broke her decade-long drought in Paris in 2013, right after winning the Italian Open. It's normal to have protected ranking.

Sharapova said returning from pregnancy requires "an incredible effort" that can tax a player physically and emotionally, while Halep said it's "normal to give birth" and "good to protect the ranking when someone is giving birth".

But despite her success in majors, Williams will not be seeded in the Open. That is to say, they could decide to seed Williams anyway. "She was No. 1 so she deserves seeding".

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.

"If a woman takes 12 months maternity leave in a workplace, the law allows her to return to the same position", she said.

"So my personal view is that it is unfair that she has not been seeded". Williams tweeted that, for the second time in a week, she was being asked to produce a sample for an anti-doping test.