Organizers of the tournament confirmed on Monday that Williams will not be seeded for the 2018 French Open. The tournament begins on Sunday at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. Williams is set to take on Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova in the first round of the tournament. Pliskova is ranked No. 6 in the world, while Williams is ranked No. 453. Pliskova is also a former world No. 1.
Sunday's match will be Williams' first in a Grand Slam since she won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant with her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian.
Williams was ranked No. 1 in the world when she left the tour to give birth. By being unseeded, she is more likely to face higher ranked players in the early round of the Grand Slam.
Several of Williams' tennis foes have supported the idea that she should be seeded for the tournament.
"If you're like finished, or you stopped because you're going to have a child and you will be in top 8, I think you should have this kind of thing, to have protected seeding,'' Italian Open champ Elina Svitolina said of Williams, according to the Washington Post. "She was No. 1 so she deserves seeding.''
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
An online petition asking the French Open to give all new moms a protected ranking is closing in on its goal of 13,000 signatures. It was about 200 signings short as of Friday morning.
Trump followed suit, responding to a tweet from ESPN regarding Williams' position in the Grand Slam.
"This is ridiculous. Serena Williams 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," Trump wrote.
Williams is looking to win her 24th Grand Slam at Rolland Garros, which would tie her for the most ever with Margaret Court.