Serena ended her 15-month absence from tennis during which she gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in March this year. That leaves the 23-time Grand Slam singles victor, who was ranked No. 1 in the world at the time she went on maternity leave, in danger of having to square off with a top player in the early rounds - and those players are facing the same unpleasant possibility. Without a seeding, the 23-time grand slam singles champion risks facing top-ranked players in the early rounds.
According to the AP, the WTA is considering a rule to protect the rankings of highly ranked players when they go on maternity leave, but such a policy would not go into effect until next year.
The WTA has a "special ranking" rule that allows players who have gone on maternity leave to preserve their entry into tournaments, but not their world ranking.
The WTA now gives players coming off maternity leave or injuries a "special ranking", which allows them to enter tournaments but doesn't impact seeding.
The decision of Roland Garros' organisers comes despite several players including world number one Simona Halep, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina coming in support of giving Williams a seeding. Regardless of the obstacles, she'll be going for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, which starts Sunday after the draw is announced Thursday. "It's normal to have protected ranking ... it's more than tennis", Halep said. She also was the first unseeded women's champion at this tournament since 1933. Failing to be seeded this season will leave her hopes of a fourth French Open title in serious jeopardy.
"You don't have to put her back at No. 1 because she left at No. 1 but try to figure out some sort of happy medium where it's fair for all". "Serena can achieve anything - after being her coach for six years, I'm even more sure of that statement".
"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".
The bottom half is anchored by second-seeded German Alexander Zverev and former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia - the last man to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros in the 2015 quarter-finals.
"We know she will have the fire, the fight and the heart and the drive but you don't know about seven matches in a row to keep that level up".
However, being seeded gives a player a number of advantages.