Sloane Stephens returns to Roland Garros with new attitude

Rafael Nadal tennis news

Rafael Nadal tennis news

Williams was ranked number one when she left the WTA Tour previous year after winning the 2017 Australian Open to give birth.

The French Tennis Federation says the 32 women's seeds at Roland Garros will be "based on the WTA ranking".

Serena Williams will play her first grand slam in 16 months at this month's French Open.

Serena Williams (USA) during her second round match against Kiki Bertens (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Much of the fanfare on the women's side of the draw should surround Williams, and rightfully so, but the 23-time Grand Slam victor won't enter Roland Garros as the favorite.

In contrast, the women's seedings usually follow the WTA rankings list but can be tweaked by the All England Club in special circumstances.

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.

John Isner
AFP Getty Images

The French Open organizers won't offer special treatment to Serena Williams should she make the trip to Roland Garros in Paris this summer.

In her next event, the Miami Open, a meeting with fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina awaited Williams if she had defeated Naomi Osaka in the first round.

The French Open draw will be announced on Thursday, and play will begin on Sunday. She also was the first unseeded women's champion at this tournament since 1933. It's normal to have protected ranking. But those people are forgetting that Serena won the 2017 Australian Open while she was pregnant.

The man who spent 223 weeks as world No.1 is now ranked 22 in the world and is a long way from recapturing the form which brought him 12 grand slam titles. "I'm coming back to win", she said defiantly in a HBO documentary "Being Serena" which aired last week. "The rule is now under further review as part of our 2019 rules process".

Responding to comments made by former men's World No.4 James Blake that suggested not allowing Williams to be seeded at tournaments was "kind of punishment" and "tough", a WTA spokesperson said they would review the rules going forward. She was not seeded at either tournament. "We remain committed to evolving with the needs of our players and are very supportive of those players returning from maternity leave to the tour".

Williams addressed it in an interview with The New York Times' Christopher Clarey in late April, before the French Open's decision, saying women should be able to juggle their personal lives and tennis without sacrificing one or the other.

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