An Unseeded Serena Williams Looms in the French Open Draw

May 26, 2018, 00:12
An Unseeded Serena Williams Looms in the French Open Draw

She will open against 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic. By refusing to give her an exception, French officials are dismissing the 36-year-old Williams as a competitor, a risky and ridiculous notion for anyone who has ever seen her play. She hasn't played at a Grand Slam since winning the Australian Open in January 2017 while pregnant.

The WTA and its players' council are considering such a rule, but French Open organizers also had the chance to seed Williams.

Fourth-ranked Elina Svitolina, who retained her Italian Open title on Sunday, was also supportive of seeding Williams.

They lost their most recent doubles match, the Fed Cup dead rubber in February, in straight sets.

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"I think the biggest difference is really when I'm in here in the press conferences", she said. "Tennis is such a selfish sport, but I think when there's a child in your life you lose a little bit of that, because there's something that's so much more important".

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki says that Serena Williams' comeback will force the current top-ranked players to raise their games at the French Open.

Defending women's champion Jelena Ostapenko, 5th in the world, starts against Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine and could face former world number one and two-time Grand Slam title victor Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

Ten-time victor Rafael Nadal opens against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

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Nadal is arriving in Paris on the back of another impressive clay-court season.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion is able to play at Roland Garros by using her protected ranking from when she stopped playing before her daughter Alexis was born.

The seventh-seeded Thiem, who ended Nadal's streaks on clay of 21 wins and 50 sets won, will face a qualifier in the first round.

Belgium's David Goffin or Australia's Nick Kyrgios could lie beyond that for the Serb, while second seed Alexander Zverev is a potential semi-final opponent.

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Former champion Novak Djokovic was drawn in the same half as Thiem and Zverev.

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