Serena Williams is back. She is eyeing the prize at the 2018 French Open, but a controversial decision made by organizers at Roland Garros has made her return to this Grand Slam event controversial. According to a report by ESPN, it was decided that the former World No. 1 would go into this year’s tournament as an unseeded player. This has rattled many chains in the battle against discrimination against women.
This topic has sparked a debate over women who want to return to their jobs after having a baby. The rule, as it stands right now, is that the individual tournaments gets to decide what seed to give tennis players. The French Tennis Association bases their decision on the WTA ranking for each tennis player coming into the tournament. Serena is currently ranked at No. 453.
While French Open officials have said that they will be taking another look at changing that decision, it wouldn’t apply to this year’s tournament. Of course, Serena Williams is disappointed by that ruling. She hinted at that decision on social media as she wrote about take a couple of anti-doping tests this past week.
“And…… just like that anti doping is here….again… second time this week. proud to participate to keep the sport clean. Even if they do test me at my current ranking of 454 in the world. Two times every week.”
It has been 15 months since the 36-year-old mom has played in a Grand Slam. She gave birth to her baby girl, Alexis Olympia, last September and had a health scare right after that as well. But she is now ready to slam her way back, despite her unseeded ranking at the French Open.
New shoe for Roland Garros Blazer Mid SW Went -to La Grande Arche in Paris with @nikecourt and surprised some really sweet young ladies. Thanks @paulinebriscoe And @lorraine301 pic.twitter.com/wNJ4UnN1Zq— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 23, 2018
Serena does have plenty of support after this decision was announced. Many of her fellow tennis players have spoken out that something needs to changed when it comes to taking time off to have a baby. Even Maria Sharapova gave support to her biggest rival. She said that it would be a nice change for female tennis players who want to take on the joys of motherhood.
Another high-profile female spoke out in support of Serena Williams. First daughter Ivanka Trump took to Twitter to say how ridiculous this decision is.
“This is ridiculous. @SerenaWilliams is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother. No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child! The #WTA should change this rule immediately.”
This is ridiculous. @SerenaWilliams is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother. No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child! The #WTA should change this rule immediately. #FrenchOpen.https://t.co/W5jQ5aEUXm— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 24, 2018
However, there are some people who feel that the ruling is fair.
“If a player is injured or had a baby and didn’t play for a certain period, why should a player be given special treatment and keep your ranking until this player comes back. It is unfair to the other players who are actually performing,” one comment posted on Twitter said.
Before Serena decided to return to the professional tennis court, she was enjoying motherhood for the past few months. The 23-time Grand Slam champ also got to hobnob with royalty just a week ago at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She and husband, Alexis Ohanian, got all dressed up to help celebrate the royal couple’s nuptials.
The 2018 French Open begins on Sunday, May 27. Serena Williams will play against Czech Kristyna Pliskova in the first round on Monday, May 28.