Serena Williams' return to tennis sparks a debate about maternity leave

A 23-time Grand Slam singles victor, she has no official ranking, which means she can not be seeded for WTA events.

Williams, the six-time Miami Open champion and the 23-time major singles champion, drew about the most dramatic and intriguing first-round opponent she could have when, by the luck of the draw, she drew a first-round match-up with Naomi Osaka of Japan, who the same day was staking her claim as the newest star in women's tennis by winning the BNP Paribas Open.

Still, Blake says that Williams has not complained about being unseeded and almost 490 people wanting her coveted top spot.

"It makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave", said Blake.

Is tennis doing enough to support women who return to competition after giving birth?

WTA chief Steve Simon told the New York Times that he expected these rules to be "further reviewed" but that they provide "for a player to return with a protected ranking but does not allow for a player to be seeded".

Osaka underlined why she is being tipped as a future Grand Slam champion with some clean ball striking from the back of the court and accurate serving to comfortably close out the match in the second set and bring up a second-round meeting with fourth seed Elina Svitolina.


The American eight-time champion wildcard entrant made her return to the WTA Tour at last week's tournament in Indian Wells before a third-round exit to sister Venus, and will face the in-form Japanese player at Crandon Park.

"I think they are going to start talking about changing the way some seedings are done and I hope they do", Blake said.

The American won a 23rd Grand Slam before becoming the top-ranked player in women's tennis when she defeated her sister Venus in straight sets to win the 2017 Australian Open final in January previous year.

Taking on Osaka so early in the tournament will be hard for Williams who is understandably taking time to return to her very best.

"It's not as if she left because of injury and lost her passion for the game", Blake continued. For starters, the victor of that massive first-round match will have to face world No. 4 Elina Svitolina in the second round, providing more early-round women's excitement in Miami.

"Serena should have a special seeding, but also WTA should use the most current ranking", tennis commentator and former world number one Lindsay Davenport said on the Tennis Channel.

"I don't know if anybody knows this but Serena's my favourite player". "Most people when I spoke to them about the idea said, 'It's insane". Is she going to be nervous playing Serena now that expectations are higher?


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