A 2018 Serena Williams French Open appeance is actually happening. After having given birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. born in late 2017, Serena Williams hadn’t played much tennis. Only having made 2 tournament appearances in 2018. Indian Wells, where she lost to fellow countrywoman and sister, Venus Williams in the third round. Williams followed up Indian Wells in Miami, where she lost early in the first round against Japanese young stay, Naomi Osaka.
Serena Williams French Open: Unseeded
Because Williams hasn’t played much, just the 2 tournaments earlier this year, she will head into the 2018 French Open without a seeding. Serena Williams hasn’t played the French Open unseeded since way back in 1998;however, she also has skipped the tournament many times (2000, 2005, 2006, 2011, & 2017).
Organizers at Roland Garros decided to not give the American a seed for 2018’s tournament. *GASP*
Really though, it should not come as much of a surprise. Serena hasn’t played a clay tournament since the French Open in 2016. That means that she hasn’t played a single match on clay leading up to the 2018 French Open; no practice tournaments, a bit risky if you ask me.
It’s not about being unfair to Serena, and more about being fair to the players who have been out there week after week for the past year busting their asses. Why should Williams be given preferential treatment over the rest of the WTA when they’ve ‘earned’ their spots in the rankings while she made the choice to do something else with her life?
If Chris Evert decided to come out of retirement for the US Open would she be expected to get a seed because she won it 6 times? Probably not, right?
Serena didn’t play the French Open last year, she didn’t win it the last time she played in 2016, she hasn’t done or shown anything significant in her brief return after giving birth to date that would warrant her being seeded. Why didn’t Kim Clijster’s get seeded when she came back one year after the birth of her daughter in February 2008? Kim did get a Wildcard (no seeding) into the 2009 US Open and won it.
Serena Williams French Open: What does it all mean?
For Serena Williams, being unseeded at the 2018 French Open, means little really. She could very well face a top seed in an early rounds, but it could very well make a good underdog story if she were to win it.
Outside of tennis, it brings up a lot of questions, “Should the rules be reconsidered around protecting a ranking around maternity/paternity leave?” also, “Should there be a paternity leave equal to a maternity leave option for the ATP?” I would absolutely be open to protected leave for either mother or father in the event they start a family. Of course, there would be a limit to how long the leave/protected ranking would live for.
What do you think of all this? Is it fair for no Serena Williams French Open seeding? Should the ATP have a paternity leave as well?